Asia stocks hit nine-and-a-half-year high, markets await BOJ, ECB meetings
Asian shares scaled near-decade peak on Thursday, bolstered by a surge in global stocks to a record high on strong U.S. corporate earnings, while investors awaited the Japanese and European central bank meetings for clues on their policy outlooks.
MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> added 0.15 percent, hovering near its highest level since December 2007.
Japan`s Nikkei <.n225> gained 0.1 percent. Australian stocks <.axjo> rose 0.3 percent and South Korea`s KOSPI <.ks11> advanced 0.15 percent.
The MSCI World index <.miwd00000pus> rose for its tenth straight session on Thursday and set a record high for the sixth consecutive day, lifted by all-time closing highs on Wall Street on strong earnings reports.
"In the U.S., the earnings season seems to be surprising a little bit on the upside," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland.
"What we have seen recently in the economic reports suggests it should be even better overseas... So we have come to the point where things look pretty good in the U.S. and it looks even better in prospect overseas, so what`s not to like about equities," he said.
The Bank of Japan ends its two-day policy meeting on Thursday and is expected to paint a brighter picture of the economy but cut its inflation forecasts again. It is set to keep policy unchanged and reinforce that it will lag well behind major global central banks in scaling back its massive stimulus programme.
At Thursday`s meeting, the central bank may drop a reference to its readiness to increase the size or duration of its asset-purchase programme before announcing in the autumn how and when it will start winding down its bond buying.
"The euro has surged enormously on the back of hopes that the ECB is going to start the process of shutting the door on loose monetary policy," Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets UK, wrote in a note.
"The ECB needs to be clear about its forward guidance and it should reinforce that in a subtle manner. Coming out of the gates too aggressively would create shock waves in the market."
The dollar index <.dxy>, which tracks the greenback against a basket of trade-weighted peers, was steady at 94.762.
The Australian dollar
The Canadian dollar
Oil prices, which hit a two-week peak on Wednesday on a bigger-than-expected weekly draw in crude and gasoline inventories in the U.S., were marginally lower early on Thursday.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)