Asian stocks follow Wall St up on interest rate hopes

Asian stocks follow Wall St up on interest rate hopes

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher Friday after a Federal Reserve official raised hopes the U.S. central bank might not step up its anti-inflation fight as much as feared.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Oil prices retreated.

Wall Street rose Wednesday for the first time in three days after the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Raphael Bostic, expressed support for raising the Fed’s benchmark lending rate to a range of 5% to 5.25% — less than many investors are forecasting. Bostic said the Fed might be able to suspend additional rate increases by mid-year, sooner than some expect.

Stocks advanced following those “dovish comments,” said Anderson Alves of ActivTrades in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4% to 3,322.11 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.8% to 20,582.54.

China is beginning its annual legislative session, where leaders are expected to affirm policies meant to spur growth after a long slowdown worsened by COVID-19.

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