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Talking Points:

  • Most Asia Pacifica bourses managed gains
  • However local factors kept Chinese indexes under more pressure
  • The US Dollar remained broadly firm after the Federal Reserve’s monetary decision

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Asian indexes were mostly higher Thursday, tracking moderate US gains which came in turn after the Federal Reserve left monetary policy alone, as expected.

The Nikkei 225 added 1.6%, with Australia’s ASX 200 up 0.9% and South Korea’s Kospi 0.3% in the grreen. China stocks were weaker, though with both the Shanghai Composite and the Hang Seng lower. PC-maker Lenovo reported a major quarterly loss which weakened the overall tone. It was lowered further in Hong Kong by some profit taking in previously buoyant property-development stocks

The session’s economic data were mixed. China’s private manufacturers saw modest gains in January, Australia’s did rather better. However Australian building permit approvals fell through the floor in December, a collapse which hit the Australian Dollar despite likely seasonal influences and the overall volatility of the series. The US Dollar was modestly stronger after the Fed signaled confidence in both inflation and US growth ahead.

Gold prices initially slipped, as they tend to do generally when the prospect of higher US interest rates are the broad market focus. However they perked up through Asian hours. Crude oil prices continued to forge ahead on news of strong compliance with production cuts from OPEC.

Still to come Thursday is the UK’s manufacturing PMI, with Canada’s due after that. The US economic snapshot from the Institute for Supply Management is also coming up.

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX