Asian shares gain, tracking Wall St advance, oil price rally
Shares in Asia are higher after an overnight advance on Wall Street spurred by the latest meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve.
KEEPING SCORE: The Nikkei 225 stock index in Tokyo climbed 0.5 percent to 19,849.10 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 25,559.00. South Korea's Kospi jumped 0.9 percent to 2,336.87 while the Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent higher to 3,057.69. The S&P ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent to 5,780.50. Shares were higher in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
FED'S PLANS: According to the minutes released Wednesday, Federal Reserve officials discussed steps for shrinking the U.S. central bank's $4.5 trillion in bond holdings. Wall Street liked what it saw. "They're going to do it in a very careful, slow, and, at least by Fed standards, transparent method," said Ed Keon, a portfolio manager at QMA, a fund manager owned by Prudential Financial. "They're not going to do it in a way that runs the risk of shocking the market."
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve Open Market Committee's May meetings "confirm a benign approach from the Fed while emphasizing its commitment to normalization of monetary policy over the medium term," said Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets. "Rallies across U.S. stock exchanges support the perception that investors remain focused on the underlying economic strength rather than the consequent interest rate rises," he said in a commentary.
WALL STREET GAINS: U.S. stocks rose for the fifth consecutive day Wednesday, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 0.2 percent to closed at a record high 2,404.39. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.4 percent to 21,012.42 and the Nasdaq composite also added 0.4 percent, to 6,163.02.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude jumped 47 cents to $51.83 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 11 cents to settle at $51.36 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 50 cents to $54.46 a barrel in London. Oil prices have rallied lately as members of the OPEC cartel and other countries prepare to meet and discuss production. Those nations are expected to extend last year's production cut in a concerted attempt to prevent oil prices from falling.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.60 yen from 111.50 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1240 from $1.1119.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay contributed to this story. He can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP
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