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Hong Kong leads Asia-Pacific rally as Fed signals rate cuts

Hong Kong stock market

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 1.6 per cent, while China’s CSI 300 index advanced 0.36 per cent

Hong Kong stocks led a rally among Asia-Pacific equity markets Thursday as investors embraced the U.S. Fed’s move to end its interest-rate-hiking cycle and signal cuts for the next year.

Optimism spilled over from Wall Street, which soared as the Fed held rates at 5.25 per cent-5.5 per cent for a third consecutive time and laid out the timeline for at least three quarter-percentage point cuts in 2024 and beyond.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 1.6 per cent, while China’s CSI 300 index advanced 0.36 per cent.

Forecasts for the core personal consumption expenditures price index — the Fed’s favoured inflation gauge— have also been cut back by the Fed to 2.4 per cent in 2024 and 2.2 per cent in 2025, down from 2.6 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively in its earlier forecasts.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 started the day 1.44 per cent higher, touching levels not seen since August 1.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 reversed gains to drop 0.41 per cent, while the Topix slid 1.19 per cent. The financial sector led declines in the region as investors in Japan awaited the Bank of Japan’s policy decision next week.

South Korea’s Kospi popped 1.40 per cent, while the small-cap Kosdaq gained 1.32 per cent.

Overnight in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average touched record levels, adding 1.4 per cent and marking the first time the benchmark ended above the 37,000 level — breaking an earlier record set in January 2022.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.37 per cent and exceeded the 4,700 mark for the first time since January 2022, while the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.38 per cent. All three major averages touched new 52-week highs.

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