Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading up in the early deals on Wednesday, tracking the overnight gains on Wall Street following comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and on upbeat corporate earnings results. In her semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Yellen said that the Federal Reserve can raise interest rates at a gradual pace and spoke in support of an interest rate hike in March. Japanese stocks rose as the dollar jumped after US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hinted at an interest rate hike next month, with financial stocks outperforming on higher yields. Among the other Asian markets, Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia are in positive territory. The markets in Indonesia are closed for a public holiday.
Nikkei 225 added 211.19 points or 1.10% to 19,450.17, Hang Seng strengthen 299.56 points or 1.26% to 24,002.57, KOSPI Index gained 8.63 points or 0.42% to 2,083.20, Shanghai Composite jumped 10.07 points or 0.31% to 3,228.00, Taiwan Weighted increased 63.78 points or 0.66% to 9,782.56, and Straits Times was up by 7.43 points or 0.24% to 3,079.90.
On the flip side, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI was down by 0.61 points or 0.04% to 1,708.29.