Asia Mostly Up as Fed Signals Rate Cut

Asia markets mostly rose on Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled overnight that the U.S. central bank could be cutting interest rates soon.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rebounded 110.05 points, or 0.5%, to 21,643.53. Shares of game maker Nintendo jumped 4.2% a day after the company announced a cheaper version of its Switch video game console.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.03 against the U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels above 108.5 in the previous session

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index leaped 227.11 points, or 0.8%, to 28,431.80.

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul remain frosty, with Japan saying last week it would tighten restrictions on exports of three materials used in smartphone displays and chips, over a dispute with Seoul on South Koreans being forced to work for Japanese firms during World War Two.

On Thursday, South Korea announced that up to 300 billion won (approx. $256 million U.S.) would be set aside to cope with Japan’s export curbs.

Shares of companies potentially affected by the export curbs, such as Samsung Electronics, rose 1.4%, and SK Hynix, advanced 3.6%, on Thursday.

Australian indices strengthened, as the sectors advanced. Banks were under the spotlight, with Australia’s corporate regulator threatening on Thursday to prosecute some of the country’s largest lenders over their sales of consumer insurance products in the past decade.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6974 after bouncing from levels below $0.695 yesterday.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 deleted 1.52 points to 3,785.22

In Korea, the Kospi index gained 21.8 points, or 1.1%, to 2,080.58

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index added 10.03 points, or 0.3%, to 3,350.45

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index climbed 44.94 points, or 0.4%, to 10,843.42

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gathered 37.18 points, or 0.4%, to 10,687.32

In Australia, the ASX 200 took on 26.35 points, or 0.4%, to 6,716.14