AP

Asian stocks higher ahead of Fed rate decision

Jan 30, 2023, 8:54 AM | Updated: Jan 31, 2023, 8:54 pm

A currency trader walks by the screens showing the foreign exchange rates at a foreign exchange dea...

A currency trader walks by the screens showing the foreign exchange rates at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Asian stock markets were higher Wednesday after Wall Street rose ahead of what traders hope will be the last Federal Reserve interest rate hike for some time. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were higher Wednesday after Wall Street rose ahead of what traders hope will be the last Federal Reserve interest rate hike for some time.

U.S. futures edged lower, while oil prices gained.

Traders assume the Fed will announce a rate hike of 0.25 percentage points but hope that will be the last for some time after data Tuesday showed U.S. wage growth slowed in late 2022. They worry U.S. and European rate hikes to cool inflation might tip the global economy into recession.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 1.5% after traders took the wage data as a sign the U.S. central bank might think its efforts to slow economic activity are taking effect.

Investors will watch how the Fed describes its decision and chair Jerome Powell’s comments at a planned news conference for signs of whether the U.S. central bank will ease off plans for more rate hikes, said Anderson Alves of ActivTrades in a report.

“”A hawkish decision could put strong pressure on all asset classes,” Alves said, while a more dovish outlook could “prompt expectations that the Fed could start cutting rates again in the last quarter of this year.”

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1% to 3,258.93 after two surveys showed Chinese factory activity increased in January but still is subdued amid weak global demand and COVID-19 outbreaks that disrupted business.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 0.2% to 27,376.22 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.5% to 21,941.96.

The Kospi in Seoul rose 0.8% to 2,444.16 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.5% higher at 7,512.10.

Singapore declined while New Zealand and other Southeast Asian markets rose.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 advanced to 4,076.60 to end January with its third monthly gain in the past four months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1% to 34,086.04. The Nasdaq rose 1.7% to 11,584.55.

Traders expect a Fed rate hike of 0.25 percentage points, its smallest margin of increase since March after three jumps of 0.75 points and then one of 0.5 points.

Investors are hoping the Fed declares victory and rolls back its rate increases starting later this year despite repeated warnings by central bank officials that the cost of borrowing could stay elevated for an extended period.

Other data announced Tuesday showed consumer confidence and a separate measure of business activity in the Midwest both were weaker than expected.

The latest round of corporate profit reports have been mixed.

McDonald’s fell 1.3% despite reporting stronger profit and revenue than expected, suggesting investors might be uneasy about upcoming profit margins as the economy cools.

Caterpillar dropped 3.5% after it reported weaker profit than expected but stronger revenue.

General Motors 8.3% after reporting stronger profit and revenue than expected.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 29 cents to $79.16 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 97 cents to $78.87 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 19 cents to $85.65 per barrel in London. It fell 41 cents the previous session to $84.49.

The dollar fell to 130.04 yen from Tuesday’s 130.21 yen. The euro declined to $1.0859 from $1.0865.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image: Former President Donald Trump and his lawyer Todd Blanche appear at Manhattan criminal in Ne...

Associated Press

Police to review security outside courthouse hosting Trump trial after man sets himself on fire

Crews rushed away a person after fire was extinguished outside where jury selection was taking place in the Donald Trump criminal trial.

10 hours ago

Photo: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is sworn-in before the House Committee on Hom...

the MyNorthwest Staff with wire reports

Senate dismisses two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security secretary, ends trial

The Senate dismissed impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as Republicans pushed to remove him.

2 days ago

idaho gender-affirming care...

Associated Press

Supreme Court allows Idaho to enforce its ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth

The Supreme Court is allowing Idaho to enforce its ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth while lawsuits over the law proceed.

4 days ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press in Manhattan state court in New York City ...

Associated Press

Trump’s hush money trial gets underway; 1st day ends without any jurors selected

The historic hush money trial of Donald Trump got underway Monday with the arduous process of selecting a jury to hear the case.

4 days ago

Photo: Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in cent...

Tia Goldenberg and Josef Federman, The Associated Press

Israel is quiet on next steps against Iran — and on which partners helped shoot down missiles

On Sunday, Israel's leaders credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct attack from Iran.

5 days ago

Early phases of Iran's drone attack against Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)...

Associated Press

The Latest | Iran launches its first direct military attack against Israel

Iran launched its first full-scale military attack against Israel on Saturday, sending drones toward Israel.

6 days ago

Asian stocks higher ahead of Fed rate decision