Asia Mostly Higher After Fed Cuts

Stocks in Asia were mostly higher on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates overnight — but the U.S. central bank appeared divided on its next course of action for the year.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 regained 83.74 points, or 0.4%, to 22,044.45

The moves regionally on Thursday came as investors reacted to a series of recent moves by central banks across the globe.

The Fed cut its benchmark overnight rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.75% to 2%, a move that was widely expected. It is the second time this year the central bank has lowered rates.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) kept monetary policy steady on Thursday. In an expected move, the BoJ maintained its short-term interest rate target at -0.1% and a pledge to guide 10-year government bond yields around 0%.

In its statement on monetary policy, the Japanese bank said "it is becoming necessary to pay closer attention to the possibility that the momentum toward achieving the price stability target will be lost,” in reference to the BoJ’s ever elusive 2% inflation target.

"The Bank will re-examine economic and price developments at the next (Monetary Policy Meeting), when it updates the outlook for economic activity and prices," the BoJ said.

Following that decision, the Japanese yen traded at 108.06 against the dollar after seeing an earlier low of 108.46.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was hammered 285.17 points, or 1.1%, to 26,468.95. Shares of life insurer AIA dropped 3%.

Following the Fed decision, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced Thursday it adjusted its base rate downward by 25 basis points to 2.25%.

Korean markets produced slight gains, as shares of Samsung Electronics surged 3%.

Australian stocks gained, as data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the country’s trend unemployment rate increased to 5.3% in August.

Following the employment data release, the Australian dollar traded at about $0.6787 after seeing highs above $0.684 in the previous session.

In other markets

In China, the CSI 300 gained 14.3 points, or 0.4%, to 3,924.38

In Korea, the Kospi index gained 9.62 points, or 0.5%, to 2,080.35

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index docked 34.75 points, or 0.3%, to 10,894.70

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index erased 8.04 points, or 0.3%, to 3,158.80.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 recovered 26.2 points, or 0.2%, to 10,801.05

In Australia, the ASX 200 regrouped 35.88 points, or 0.5%, to 6,717.48