Stocks in Asia head higher as Fed seen dovish

Stocks in Asia head higher as Fed seen dovish

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 27, 2017.

U.S. Treasury prices and stocks worldwide were little changed on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting were in line with expectations, while the euro was higher after Catalonia held off on moving to independence.

Analysts said the minutes showed that policymakers are open to a December interest-rate hike despite concerns about low inflation levels.

In addition, many Fed officials judged that at least part of the softening in inflation this year was the result of idiosyncratic or one-time factors, and, thus, their effects were likely to fade over time. The Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.2477 to the greenback, or 80.15 US cents, down 0.1 percent.

A rise in defensive sectors such as utilities was partly offset by declines in cyclicals such as financials a day before USA banks' quarterly reporting season kicks off. "Speakers have been out in force recently and I think they've been pretty clear that a December rate hike is certainly on the table", said Thomas Simons, a money market economist at Jefferies in NY.

"We go back to focusing on inflation, that's really where we need more clarity to get a sense of where things are headed for the rest of the year", Rajappa said.

-Spain's 10-year yield fell six basis points to 1.64 percent.

The 30-year bond was last up 3/32 in price to yield 2.8768 percent, from 2.881 percent late on Tuesday.

Spanish stocks rallied and the euro reached a two-week high after Catalonia's leader, Carles Puigdemont, declined to make a formal independence declaration on Tuesday to allow for talks with Madrid. That disappointed many pro-independence supporters but pleased financial markets.

A 1.3 percent jump in Spain's IBEX .IBEX more than reversed the previous session's fall while the broader equities market had a lackluster performance.

Spot gold was last up 0.1% at $1,292.72 an ounce, supported by a weaker dollar. The contracts had risen for the third day on Wednesday as OPEC's forecast for higher demand in 2018 and heightened tensions in Kurdistan supported prices.

"After last Friday's disappointing payrolls number, people has been taking profit" on US dollar positions, said Lennon Sweeting, chief market strategist at XE.com Inc.in Toronto. Oil prices rebounded from earlier losses, although they were still down on the session, after the U.S. Energy Department reported a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. inventories and a falloff in weekly production.

Japan's benchmark Topix index added 0.3 per cent as of 9:20 a.m.in Tokyo, touching the highest since July 2007.

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