US Fed Chair Janet Yellen says the case for increasing rates has ‘strengthened 'in recent months'
Janet Yellen gave her positive comments on the US economy, while speaking to graduates at the University of Baltimore on Monday Reuters

Asian stock market indices were trading mixed on Tuesday (20 December). The Shanghai Composite was down 0.73% at 3,095.18 as of 5.46am GMT. This was despite positive economic news from both the US and Japan.

On Monday, chairwoman of the US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen said that the US economy had improved in recent times and this had created the strongest job market in the country in nearly a decade. She was speaking at the University of Baltimore.

"[Yellen] is really expecting the US economy to be growing strongly," Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader was quoted as saying by MarketWatch. He added that the markets had little or no impact from the attacks in Berlin and the killing of Russia's envoy in Turkey. "Markets seem to have moved on," he added.

The mixed trend in Asia follows Japan's central bank keeping its monetary policy on hold. It said interest rates would be kept at -0.1% and the 10-year government bond yield around 0%. This helped ease the value of the yen.

The Bank of Japan also raised the country's growth outlook on Tuesday. It said that the economy would expand going forward amid rising domestic demand, large-scale fiscal stimulus and growing exports. This is the first time that the BoJ has raised the assessment of its economy since May 2015.

Indices in the region were trading as follows at 6.08am GMT:

CountryIndexPriceUp/Down%Change
Hong KongHang Seng Index21,719.80Down0.52%
JapanNikkei 22519,501.14Up0.56%
South KoreaKOSPI2,044.81Up0.31%
IndiaBSE26,299.29Down0.29%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,591.10Up0.52%

On 19 December, the FTSE 100 closed 0.08% higher at 7,017.16, while the S&P 500 Index closed 0.20% higher at 2,262.53.

Among commodities, oil prices were in the red. This was said to be amid a pull back from investors in the run-up to the holiday season. As of 12.51am EST, WTI crude oil was trading lower by 0.52% at $51.85 (£41.87) a barrel, while Brent crude was trading 0.20% lower at $54.81 a barrel.