Asian markets bounce with Wall St as US data fans rate-cut bets

Agency :
Asian markets pressed ahead with their rally Friday as another round of US data further stoked expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates more than it has indicated next year.

Equities have been on an upward trajectory in recent weeks as a string of figures show inflation coming down and the jobs market softening, while the economy is easing but appears safe from recession.

The surge suffered a blip in the middle of the week as traders took a breather, with analysts saying the advance may have gone a little too fast, but they were back on their horse Friday following a strong run-up on Wall Street.

That came on the back of data showing that the US economy grew slightly less than first thought in the third quarter.

The readings were “in line with the narrative that a cooling economy will keep the Fed on track to cut rates in the not-too-distant future”, Chris Larkin, at E*Trade from Morgan Stanley, said.

“That sentiment has played a big role in the market’s recent surge.”

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Focus is now on the release of the closely watched personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, decision-makers’ preferred gauge of inflation, which could be key for the Fed’s meeting next month.

Bank officials sent markets racing last week when they held rates and released their “dot plot” forecast for rates suggesting they would cut several times next year, but observers said investors were confident that more than that are in store.

Traders are betting on about 150 basis points of reductions, according to Bloomberg News, twice as much as policymakers have indicated.

All three main indexes on Wall Street rose Thursday, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 piling on more than one percent, and analysts said the fact that trades are still snapping up stocks when they were overbought was a good sign for the market outlook.

Asia built on the US lead as investors in most cities wind down for the Christmas break.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta were all well up, though Shanghai dipped.