Asia stocks up as Fed goes gradual; oil takes a spill

Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:58pm EST
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By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stock markets rose on Thursday as investors chose to take a hike in U.S. interest rates as a mark of confidence in the world's largest economy, though the good cheer did not extend to oil where oversupply again pressured prices.

The Federal Reserve's 25-basis-point increase was almost a decade in the making and easily one of the most telegraphed in history. So there was some relief that, after months of waiting and several false starts, the move was finally done and dusted.

"The Fed will be absolutely delighted with the lack of volatility across all asset classes," said Alan Ruskin, global head of forex at Deutsche.

"Nothing here to change a view that we can have a moderate 'risk-positive rallyette', even if the probability of a March hike is significantly higher than priced."

Nikkei futures NKc1 pointed to an opening gain of over 2 percent, on top of Tuesday's 2.6 percent advance .N225.

Australian stocks .AXJO rose 0.7 percent, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS firmed 0.3 percent in early action.

On Wall Street, the Dow .DJI ended Wednesday with gains of 1.28 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX rose 1.45 percent and the Nasdaq .IXIC 1.52 percent.

Markets were soothed by Fed Chair Janet Yellen's assurance that future tightening would be "gradual" and dependent on inflation finally moving higher as long forecasted.   Continued...

A man walks past an electronic board showing the stock market indices of various countries outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, December 4, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai