Most Asian stocks advanced after comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen boosted the dollar against the yen, spurring equity gains in Tokyo.
Two stocks rose for each that fell on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which added 0.1 percent to 134.92 as of 9:09 a.m. in Tokyo. The Topix index climbed 0.9 percent. U.S. shares slid on Wednesday and the greenback strengthened after Yellen, speaking before the House Financial Services Committee, said an improving economy has set the stage for a December interest-rate increase if reports continue to assure policy makers that inflation will accelerate over time. Companies in the U.S. added 182,000 workers to payrolls in October, signaling steady improvement, figures released by ADP Research Institute showed.
Following Yellen’s remarks, Fed Bank of New York President William Dudley said at press briefing he “completely” agrees with Yellen that December is “a live possibility” for liftoff on rates. Investors are also waiting to hear from Vice Chair Stanley Fischer. Traders now price in a 58 percent chance the central bank will increase rates at its December meeting.
South Korea’s Kospi index lost 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index sank 1.1 percent. New Zealand’s S&P NZX 50 Index slid 0.2 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading.