Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading up in the early deals on Thursday, while the dollar was finding its feet after the US Federal Reserve stuck to its mildly upbeat economic view but gave no hint of accelerating rate hikes. Though, tensions between Iran and the US, over a ballistic missile test by Tehran this week and even the tenor of President Donald Trump's phone calls with world leaders capped some gains. Japan's Nikkei share average fell after a stronger yen soured sentiment, while Toyota Motor Corp underperformed after posting weak monthly sales in the United States. Among the other Asian markets, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia are also modestly higher. Bucking the trend, Singapore, and Hong Kong are in negative territory. The markets in China are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.
FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI added 4.68 points or 0.28% to 1,676.22, KOSPI Index rose 0.86 points or 0.04% to 2,081.34, Taiwan Weighted gained 8.84 points or 0.09% to 9,456.79, and Jakarta Composite was up by 14.33 points or 0.27% to 5,341.50.
On the flip side, Nikkei 225 dipped 196.88 points or 1.03% to 18,951.20, Straits Times dropped 23.98 points or 0.78% to 3,043.51, and Hang Seng was down by 147.69 points or 0.63% to 23,170.70.