U.S. stock indices rose on Wednesday as minutes from the Federal Reserve's January meeting signaled policymakers prefer to delay the next rate hike because of economic uncertainties. Higher oil prices supported stocks of energy companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 257.42 points, or 1.6%, to 16,453.83. The S&P 500 rose 33.25 points, or 1.7%, to 1,926.83 (its energy sector gained 2.9%). The Nasdaq Composite surged 98.11 points, or 2.2%, to 4,534.06.
January Fed meeting minutes showed that Federal Reserve policymakers had noted increased uncertainties over inflation and economic growth outlook and discussed how economic risks could influence the Fed's plan to raise interest rates. Not all policymakers believed that risks would materialize, however many of them noted that risks rose.
Meanwhile data from the Federal Reserve's showed that industrial production rose in January. The corresponding index rose by 0.9% marking the fastest growth pace since November 2015. Economists had expected a reading of 0.4% after a 0.7% decline in December (revised from -0.4%).
This morning in Asia Hong Kong Hang Seng gained 2.09%, or 395.60 points, to 19,320.17. China Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.42%, or 12.16 points, to 2,879.50. Meanwhile the Nikkei jumped 2.84%, or 450.38 points, to 16,286.74.
Asian stocks advanced following gains in U.S. equities. Global stocks rose as oil prices jumped after Iran signaled it was ready to freeze oil output level.
Japanese trade data weighed on the yen allowing stocks climb. According to the Ministry of Finance, Japanese trade deficit came in at ¥-645.9 billion in January vs ¥-680 billion expected. Exports fell by 12.9% after an 8.0% decline in December. This was the fourth straight month of declines in exports. Shipping to China fell by 17.5% after an 8.6% drop in December. Imports fell by 18.0% extending the period of declines to 13 months.
China's consumer price data were published today too. The consumer price index rose by 1.8% y/y in January missing expectations for a 1.9% rise. Nevertheless the index picked up pace compared to a reading of 1.6% last December. Meanwhile the producer price index fell by 5.3% y/y marking the 47th month of declines.