Asian Shares Rise As Taper Fears Wane

Asian stocks rose on Monday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks at the Jackson Hole symposium calmed fears over the tapering timetable.

That said, the monthly U.S. jobs report due later this week could be pivotal in determining how soon the Fed can trim stimulus.

Chinese shares ended slightly higher as the country’s securities regulator pledged to crack down on mismanaged private funds and weed out fake ones.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 5.99 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,528.15, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended 0.5 percent higher at 25,539.54.

Japanese shares advanced as Powell laid out a slower than expected path to U.S. rate hikes. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 148.15 points, or 0.5 percent, to 27,789.29, while the broader Topix ended 1.1 percent higher at 1,950.14.

Nippon Steel, Dowa Holdings, JFE Holdings and Mitsui OSK Lines all jumped around 5 percent. Heavyweight SoftBank Group dropped half a percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing lost 2 percent.

Australian markets posted modest gains after miner Fortescue Metals Group said its annual net profit more than doubled. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 inched up 16.20 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,504.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 28.50 points, or 0.4 percent, at 7,788.60.

Fortescue shares surged 6.6 percent, while mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto rallied 2.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Gold miners also ended broadly higher, with Northern Star Resources climbing 3.5 percent and Regis Resources adding 2.8 percent after bullion prices hit a nearly four-week high.

Energy stocks ended mixed as oil pared early gains in Asian trading. Banks ANZ and Commonwealth ended down more than 1 percent each.

Seoul stocks rose for a second straight session as concerns around taper and interest rate hikes eased. The benchmark Kospi edged up 10.29 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,144.19.

Internet portal operator Naver rose 1.9 percent and steelmaker POSCO soared 5.4 percent, while LG Chem dropped 1.7 percent and Kakao Bank gave up 2.3 percent.

New Zealand shares rose sharply, with utilities, transport firms and retirement operators pacing the gainers. The benchmark NZX-50 Index climbed 120.79 points, or 0.9 percent, to 13,180.58. Sky Network Television, which announced an above-forecast annual net profit last week, jumped 6 percent.

U.S. stocks ended Friday’s session on a buoyant note as Powell signaled the central bank is likely to begin tapering some of its easy-money policies before the end of the year but said there’s “much ground to cover” before rate hikes.

The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.9 percent to close above the 4,500 mark for the first time ever, while the Dow rose 0.7 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.2 percent.

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