(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are higher on Thursday, after the Fed announced its widely expected decision to maintain ultra-easy policy. The Fed left interest rates and asset purchases unchanged even as the central bank upgraded its assessment of the U.S. economy. The cues overnight from Wall Street were weak. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday.

Investors are also awaiting U.S. President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress for clues on further stimulus measures, which may aid in speeding up the global economic rebound from the pandemic.

However, markets in the region continue to be tense and cautious amid the continuing surge in coronavirus cases in the region and possibility of coronavirus-related lockdowns in some markets.

The Australian stock market is marginally higher on Thursday, extending the gains of the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just off its 14-month highs below the 7,100 level, after the Fed upgraded its assessment of the U.S. economy but maintained its ultra-easy monetary policy as widely expected. The market is primarily boosted by gold miners, technology and energy stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 26.70 points or 0.38 percent to 7,091.40, after touching a near 14-month high of 7,093.40 in early deals. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 31.30 points or 0.43 percent to 7,351.30. Australian markets ended modestly higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is gaining almost 1 percent, while Rio Tinto is edging down 0.2 percent and Fortescue Metals is losing almost 2 percent after reporting weaker than expected quarterly results.

Oil stocks are higher after crude oil prices climbed overnight to a six-week high. Oil Search is gaining more than 1 percent, while Beach Energy, Woodside Petroleum and Santos are adding almost 1 percent each. Among Tech stocks, Appen is losing almost 1 percent, while Afterpay is gaining more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is up almost 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Westpac is flat, while ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are edging down 0.2 percent each. National Australia Bank is losing 0.5 percent. Gold

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