Asian Markets Find Comfort in US Fed Outlook, Yen Eases
Asian markets trade higher on 30 October (Reuters). Reuters

Asian markets traded higher on 30 October, and followed Wall Street's record highs, ahead of the US Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision.

The Japanese Nikkei finished 1.23% higher or 176.37 points at 14,502.35.

Australia's S&P/ASX finished 0.28% higher or 15.40 points at 5,430.90

South Korea's Kospi finished 0.38% higher or 7.82 points at 2,059.58.

The Shanghai Composite finished 1.48% higher or 31.60 points at 2,160.46

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was trading 1.79% higher or 408.45 points to 23,254.99.

India's BSE Sensex was trading 0.36% higher or 75.94 points to 21,008.95.

The world's most powerful central bank will put out a statement at 1400 hrs Eastern Time, detailing its monetary policy.

Market participants the world over will be tracking the Fed announcement for clues as to the future pace of its asset-buying programme.

The Fed's $85bn (£52.7bn, €61.6bn) a month bond-buying stimulus has supported the US economy and markets the world over for a while now.

Standard Chartered said in a note to clients: "The Federal Open-Market Committee (FOMC) will conclude its two-day meeting today, releasing its statement at 14:00 ET (there is no press conference). The minutes of the September meeting showed that the decision not to taper its USD 85bn/month quantitative easing (QE) programme was a 'relatively close call' for several members. But we think that, given recent soft data and the 16-day government shutdown, the FOMC will be firmly in 'wait-and-see' mode at this meeting, keeping QE unchanged".

"The statement is expected to reflect that QE tapering, although still on the FOMC's horizon, is now off the table in the near term. It is likely to have a more prudent tone, particularly on how recent activity is characterised. It may take note of the recently softer payroll data (the average fell to 143,000/month in Q3, from 182,000 in Q2), and housing activity, as the rise in long-term rates due to tapering fears has taken its toll on the economy. Our main scenario remains QE tapering starting in March 2014", according to Standard Chartered.

Scotiabank said in a note to clients: "One possibility in the FOMC statement that will not be accompanied by forecast revisions or a press conference is that the Fed could strengthen forward rate guidance while leaving its bond purchase program unchanged at $85 billion amid no hints of tapering any time soon. This could include lowering the unemployment rate threshold at which a higher fed funds target rate would be considered".

"With the December 13th deadline for budget negotiations, the extension of funding for the US government until January 15th and the suspension of the debt ceiling until February 7th, the Fed will continue to caution on fiscal policy risks and may signal near-term growth downsides as a direct consequence of the government shutdown and the likely related confidence shock", according to Scotiabank.

"No sooner will the ink be dry on the statement than three Fed speakers will take to the stage on Friday. They include St. Louis Fed President James Bullard (voting 2013, nonvoting 2014), Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota (alternate 2013, voting 2014) and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker (nonvoting 2013, alternate 2014)", the Canadian bank added.

Meanwhile, in China, the country's money market rates spiked to a four-month high on 30 October.

The seven-day repo rate, broadly considered a key measure of confidence to lend in the interbank markets, rose to around 5.59% - a 64 basis points increase over the previous day.

Earlier, data from Japan showed that industrial output rose 1.5% month-on-month in September, up from a 0.9% monthly decline in August.

Wall Street Up

On Wall Street, indices ended higher on 29 October, ahead of the Fed announcement. The Dow finished within 50 points of its record high and the S&P 500 struck a new high.

The Dow finished 111.42 points higher at 15,680.35.

The S&P 500 closed 9.84 points higher at 1,771.95.

The Nasdaq ended 12.21 points higher at 3,952.34.

Company Stock Movements

In Tokyo, Daiwa Securities shot up 3.4% despite reporting a 38% quarter-on-quarter drop in net profit.

Daiwa cited lower equity trading as the reason for the poor performance. Analysts said the firm's performance had already been factored into its stock price.

Rival Nomura gained 1.8% even after it reported a drop in net profit, which was in line with market consensus.

Telecoms major Softbank gained 2% on a Nikkei newspaper report that the firm's group operating profit probably jumped 70% to more than 700bn yen ($7.13bn).

Semiconductor maker Tokyo Electron gained 1.1% after it reported an increase rise in orders for the second quarter that ended in September.

Industrial robots manufacturer Fanuc lost 2% after it reported a decline in sales and issued a lower-than-expected forecast for the full-year.

In Shanghai, railway equipment makers China CNR and CSR Corp surged over 8% each.

China Citic Bank added 2% on news that its net profit rose by about 33%.

Air China added 1.5% ever after it reported a 7% drop in profit.

In Hong Kong, Agricultural Bank of China gained 2.8% while rival Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) moved up 0.9%.

PetroChina gained 2% after it reported a 19% increase in net profit during the third quarter.

China Petroleum and Chemical added 1.7% on news that its third-quarter net profit jumped 20% from a year ago.

In Mumbai, Bharti Airtel was trading 3.8% higher at 10:35 am IST.

Dr.Reddy's Laboratories added 2.5%, a day ahead of its July-September second quarter earnings update.

In Sydney, Transpacific Industries finished 5% higher. The waste manager announced it would sell its New Zealand unit.

Gold miner Perseus tanked 12% on lower bullion prices.

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory (WCB) lost 5% on news that Japanese beverage firm Kirin had acquired a 10% stake in WCB, potentially threatening a bid by Canadian dairy major Saputo.

In Seoul, Hyundai Rotem soared more than 70% on its market debut on 30 October. The Rotem public offering is Korea's largest share sale in three years.

Shinhan Financial added 1% after it reported a 6.2% annual increase in third-quarter operating profit.

Automaker Kia Motor lost about 2%.