Asian stock markets closed higher on Friday, March 3, buoyed by positive investor sentiment following the US Federal Reserve’s signaling of a slowdown in interest rates. Tokyo’s Nikkei closed at a two-month high of 27,927.47, gaining 428.60 points or 1.56%, driven by investor hopes of China’s economy recovering and strong sales from Japan’s major retailers.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed at 7,283.60, up 28.20 points or 0.39%, while the All Ordinaries closed at 7,484.00, an increase of 24.00 points or 0.32%. Mining and banking stocks led the market as Federal Reserve officials encouraged a slowdown in rate hikes. The market was also boosted by strong Chinese manufacturing data.
The South Korea Composite Index (KOSPI) closed up for a third consecutive day at 2,432.07, up 4.22 points or 0.17%. Investors expected the Federal Reserve (Fed) to raise interest rates at a lower rate despite data showing the economy recovering. The won also appreciated strongly against the US dollar.
The Chinese stock market composite closed higher at 3,328.39 points, up 17.74 points or 0.54%, driven by strong expansion in China’s services sector. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed up at 20,567.54 points, up 138.08 points or 0.68%, as investors were hopeful that the Federal Reserve may stop raising interest rates earlier than expected.
In Thailand, the SET closed down at 1,606.88, down 5.76 points or 0.36%.