Asia stocks advance, tech giants rally after Fed report

SINGAPORE — Asian stocks mostly rose Thursday after the Federal Reserve kept its accommodative monetary policies and signaled that economic recovery was on track.

Chinese technology giants led the way, as authorities moved to soothe jitters over anti-monopoly and data security enforcement against the industry.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.4% to 27,687.28, while the Kospi in South Korea was slightly higher at 3,237.63. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 2.4% to 26,092.02.

The Shanghai Composite Index rebounded 0.9% to 3,393.17 after three days of declines. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.3% to 7,404.40. Southeast Asian markets rose.

“The Fed maintained its accommodative monetary policies near-term. While discussions of tapering plans are underway, the markets may be relieved that no tapering timeline was set out,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

Games and social media giant Tencent Holding Ltd. surged 7.2% in Hong Kong. Internet search giant Baidu Inc. was up 5.4% in the territory, while its Wall Street-traded shares jumped 5.7%

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group shares in Hong Kong climbed 4.8%, mirroring a 5.3% gain on Wall Street overnight.

Chinese Internet shares had slid earlier this week on reports that Beijing was considering restrictions on for-profit education ventures.

The China Securities and Regulatory Commission’s meeting with top investment bankers on Wednesday night “appears to have calmed the most frazzled of nerves,” said Venkateswaran Lavanya of Mizuho Bank.

“But this does not put wider Chinese regulatory risks to bed. For one, claims of targeted clampdown on the $100bn private tuition industry does not address, certainly not denounce, ongoing regulatory tightening in tech and property,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Fed said Wednesday that “the economy has made progress” toward its goals of low unemployment and stable inflation.

The central bank however left its key interest rate unchanged at the end of a two-day policy meeting. It will also keep buying $120 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds each month until more progress is made.

Over on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 was little changed at 4,400.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% to 34,930.93. The Nasdaq added 0.7% to 14,762.58.

Smaller-company stocks fared better. The Russell 2000 index gained 1.5% to 2,224.95 following the Fed’s announcement.

Investors also digested refresh quarterly earnings reports. Google’s parent company Alphabet jumped 3.2% after reporting a profit surge last quarter.

Pfizer also rose 3.2% after its profit and revenue surged on strong sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and other medicines. Boeing jumped 4.2% after the airplane maker reported a surprise quarterly profit.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 31 cents to $72.70 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil, the basis for international oil prices, added 33 cents to $75.07.

The dollar slid to 109.80 yen from 109.91 yen on Thursday. The euro advanced to $1.1858 from $1.1847.

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