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Aug 30, 2:26 AM EDT

Asian stocks mostly rise on hopes for higher US rates


AP Photo
AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

TOKYO (AP) -- Asian shares were mostly higher Tuesday as hopes continued for a U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hike later this year.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was virtually unchanged, down less than 0.1 percent, at 16,725.36. South Korea's Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,038.33. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.8 percent to 23,000.57, while the Shanghai Composite inched up 0.1 percent to 3,073.78.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 107.59 points, or 0.6 percent, to 18,502.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 11.34 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,180.38. The Nasdaq composite edged up 13.41 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,232.33.

FED FACTOR: Major U.S. banks posted solid gains on Wall Street as traders bet that the Fed was likely to nudge interest rates higher in December or even at its next policy meeting in September. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a conference last week that the case for raising rates was strengthening given improvements in the economy.

THE QUOTE: "The Federal Reserve's rate-hike decision is largely based on three main indicators: the performance of the labor market, economic activity and inflation. In light of strong jobs reports over the last two months, the likelihood of an impending rate hike has substantially increased," said Margaret Yang Yan, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore.

JOBS DATA: Global markets are awaiting the U.S. Labor Department monthly jobs data, being released Friday, for signs on whether a U.S. recovery is on solid footing. Data on Japan released Tuesday showed an improvement in unemployment, but worries about growth momentum remain.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 19 cents to $47.17. It had fallen 66 cents to $46.98 a barrel Monday. Brent crude, used to price oil internationally, added 13 cents to $49.58 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 102.17 yen from 102.21 yen late Monday. The euro was slightly lower at $1.1168 from $1.1177.

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AP Business Writer Seth Sutel contributed to this report.

Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/yuri-kageyama

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