U.S. stock indices rose on Wednesday after the minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting signaled an interest rate hike in December was possible.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 247.66 points, or 1.4%, to 17,737.16. The S&P 500 gained 33.14 points, or 1.6%, to 2,083.58 (all of its 10 sectors closed higher). The Nasdaq Composite surged 89.19 points, or 1.8%, to 5,075.20.
"Members emphasized that this change was intended to convey the sense that, while no decision had been made, it may well become appropriate to initiate the normalization process at the next meeting," the minutes said. Recent economic data mostly supported the central bank's view that conditions in the labor market improved.
Meanwhile construction of new homes declined in October as less apartments and condominiums were built (they supported demand throughout most of the summer). Housing starts fell by 11% to an annualized level of 1.06 million. Starts of single-family homes, which account for almost two thirds of the market, fell by 2.4%. Building permits, which determine future construction, rose by 4.1% to an annualized level of 1.15 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. Building permits rose to the highest level since December 2007.
This morning in Asia Hong Kong Hang Seng rose 1.10%, or 243.62, to 22,431.88. China Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.15%, or 5.36, to 3.563.10. The Nikkei 225 gained 1.14%, or 224.61, to 19,873.79.
Asian indices traded mixed.
Japanese stocks climbed on positive data. For the first time in six months Japanese trade balance had recovered from a deficit in October. Exports exceeded imports by ¥111.5 billion. Japanese exports declined by 2.1% in October despite a weaker yen. However imports fell by 13.4%.
Today the Bank of Japan has decided to keep its monetary policy unchanged.