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Asian stocks mostly higher as Fed could push tapering out; Nikkei up 0.71%

Stock MarketsOct 21, 2013 12:13AM ET
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Investing.com - Most Asian stocks traded higher Monday following a record week for U.S. stocks as traders bet that the Federal Reserve will not imminently taper its USD85 billion-a-month bond-buying program.

In Asian trading Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.71%. Earlier Monday, Japan’s Ministry of Finance said the country logged a trade deficit of JPY932.1 billion last month. That markets a 15th consecutive month of trade deficits for the world’s third-largest economy.

The previous record was 14 straight months from 1979 to 1980. Economists expected a September trade deficit of JPY933.9 billion. Exports rose 11.5% last month, but imports increased 16.5%, according to Ministry of Finance data.

The cheap yen has increased the value of exports measured in yen, but hasn't fired up export volumes, which would create a virtuous cycle of rising exports stimulating investments, according to Dow Jones.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.59% while the Shanghai Composite jumped 1.13% after the government called for reforms to help bolster the world’s second-largest economy. Consumer and technology shares led the advance for Chinese equities.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6% to another five-year high while New Zealand’s NZSE 50 added 0.97%.

Riskier assets such as Asia-Pacific stocks are seen benefiting from a delay in the Fed’s plans to taper its easing program. The recent U.S. government shutdown weighed on fourth-quarter GDP and that could mean the Fed is forced to delay tapering well into next year.

First-quarter tapering does not seem likely because that would mean one of Janet Yellen’s first acts as Fed chair, assuming she is confirmed to replace Ben Bernanke, would be to trim the Fed’s bond-buying efforts that she supported. Bernanke stays on through the end of January 2014.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.10% while Singapore’s Straits Times Index inched up 0.06%. S&P 500 futures rose 0.07%. The benchmark U.S. index hit another record closing high last Friday.


Asian stocks mostly higher as Fed could push tapering out; Nikkei up 0.71%
 

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