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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher ahead of Fed meeting

· 03/16/2021 00:05
GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher ahead of Fed meeting

By Kevin Buckland and Elizabeth Dilts Marshall

- Asian stocks rose on Tuesday, tracking an advance by Wall Street's main indexes to record highs, as investors looked to key central bank meetings this week, starting with the U.S. Federal Reserve.

An index of the region's share markets excluding Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS strengthened 0.7%, led by a 1.2% jump in Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO.

Japan's Nikkei 225 .N225 gained 0.6% to just below the closely watched 30,000 mark, while the broader Topix .TPX added 0.5%.

China's blue chip CSI 300 index .CSI300 climbed 0.7%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng .HSI gained 0.7%.

On Monday, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both soared on gains in travel stocks as mass vaccinations in the United States and congressional approval of a $1.9 trillion aid bill fueled investor optimism.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 EScv1 edged up 0.06%.

Investors are focused on the Fed's two-day policy meeting, which will conclude on Wednesday, as bond yields have surged this year on investors betting central bankers will need to raise rates sooner than they have so far signaled to contain inflation. Fed policymakers are expected to forecast that the U.S. economy will grow in 2021 by the fastest rate in decades. nL1N2L82OT

The Bank of England also meets this week on Thursday, while the Bank of Japan wraps up a two-day gathering on Friday.

"Markets are likely to be in a holding pattern ahead of this...heavy central bank-laden week," write analysts at TD Securities.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 174.82 points, or 0.53%, to 32,953.46, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 25.6 points, or 0.65%, to 3,968.94 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 139.84 points, or 1.05%, to 13,459.71. nL4N2LD3JS

Airline shares .SPCOMAIR rose as the companies pointed to concrete signs of an industry recovery as vaccine rollouts help spur leisure bookings. nL1N2LD0WF

Germany, France and Italy hit pause on AstraZeneca AZN.L COVID-19 shots after several countries reported possible serious side effects. nL1N2LD0O2

The development will be watched in Australia, where the vaccine is also administered.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX was flat on Monday, after touching its highest level since February 2020. nL4N2LD2CW

Longer-term U.S. Treasury yields slipped further on Tuesday, as the market looked ahead to the Fed meeting and the latest government debt auctions. nL1N2LD10L

The benchmark 10-year yield US10YT=RR, which reached a more than one-year high of 1.642% last week, was back at 1.595%

Rising inflation expectations could prompt the Federal Open Market Committee to signal it will start raising rates sooner than expected.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar held small gains from overnight in muted price action ahead of the central bank meetings.

The greenback was largely flat at 109.165 yen JPY=, after rising as high as 109.365 on Monday for the first time since June.

The euro EUR= was little changed at $1.19320, languishing for an eighth session below the closely watched $1.20 level.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP continued its slide from a record high of $61,781.83 reached on Saturday, last trading 3% weaker on the day at around $53,915.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 for April changed hands at $64.79 a barrel, down 60 cents. Brent crude futures LCOc1 for May stood at $68.21 a barrel, losing 67 cents.

World FX rates YTDhttp://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

Global asset performancehttp://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn

(Reporting by Kevin Buckland and Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Jacqueline Wong)

((elizabeth.dilts@thomsonreuters.com; W: (646) 223-5063 C: (219) 730-7611; Reuters Messaging: elizabeth.dilts.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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