By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Shanghai Composite leads gains across the board
Asian markets gained Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged, but indicated it is ready to make ease monetary policy if needed.
The Fed said it will "closely monitor" the economy given increasing uncertainty about government policy, though it signaled it may not need to lower rates before 2020 . But Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the central bank is prepared to cut interest rates if necessary.
There was also encouraging news on the trade front, as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he plans to meet his Chinese counterpart ahead of the G-20 summit next week. "When actual negotiations begin again, I can't say at this point," Lighthizer said. "We're talking. We're going to meet." The U.S. and China broke off trade negotiations in early May and have not met since.
Leading the Asian region higher, the Shanghai Composite surged 2% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite advanced 1.7%.
Japan's Nikkei rose 0.6% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.9%. South Korea's Kospi was up 0.2%, while Singapore's benchmark index jumped 0.9% and indexes in Taiwan and Indonesia were modestly up. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5%.
Among individual stocks, Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing rose in Tokyo trading, along with Sony and e-commerce company Rakuten . In Hong Kong, Geely Automobile , parent of Volvo Cars, gained after announcing a deal with Sweden's Zenuity to supply it with self-driving software (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-geely-autonomous-veoneer/chinas-geely-picks-swedish-software-firm-for-driverless-cars-idUSKCN1TK13R). China Life Insurance (601628.SH) and Tencent also rose. Samsung inched down in South Korea and Foxconn advanced in Taiwan. Rio Tinto sank in Australia, while Beach Energy gained.