Asian stocks rallied for a second day on Thursday after the Federal Reserve reinforced that interest rates will be kept at a record low for a while, but Treasuries extended losses as the Fed shied away from boosting its debt purchases.

The Fed left interest rates near zero percent but tweaked its statement to say that financial markets had improved and signaled less concern about deflation, even while repeating the economy will remain weak.

But the Fed did nothing to ramp up its hefty buying of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-related bonds, disappointing some market players hoping for more action to stem the jump in Treasury yields that has threatened the economy's recovery.

The dollar gave up some of its gains scored on relief the Fed was not doing more to monetize debt, surrendering some ground to higher-yielding currencies, such as the Australian dollar, on the rise in stocks.

There was little surprise in both the Federal Open Market Committee's comments and in its rate decision, and it comes as a relief as it removes uncertainties, said Lee Sun-yeop, a market analyst at Goodmorning Shinhan Securities in Seoul.

Merger activity in Asia also gave a boost to shares.

Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner, agreed to buy Swiss oil explorer Addax Petroleum Corp for $7.24 billion in what would be China's biggest overseas acquisition. Sinopec's Hong Kong-listed shares trimmed initial gains but were up 0.4 percent.

In Japan, shares of Aozora Bank and Shinsei Bank both jumped on news they were in merger talks. Japan's Nikkei average climbed 1.6 percent.

Asia's technology shares were lifted by gains in the U.S. Nasdaq the previous day after software maker Oracle Corp posted better-than-expected quarterly results.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1 percent, pulling further away from a one-month low struck earlier in the week.

Technology, material and financial shares posted the biggest gains by sector.


U.S. Treasuries fell further after the Fed refrained from increasing its $300 billion of purchases that it had announced in March and is poised to complete in the next few months.

Benchmark 10-year notes shed 4/32 in price to yield 3.703 percent, up a basis point from late U.S. trade and about 8 basis points higher in the past two days.

The drop in Treasuries hurt government bonds across the board. The benchmark 10-year Japanese yield edged up half a basis point to 1.385 percent, but had touched a three-month low of 1.375 percent at one point.

The dollar slipped in Asia. But it climbed on Wednesday after the Fed stood pat on its debt buying, even as the European Central Bank conducted a record one-year funding operation of 442 billion euros to help spur bank lending.

The dollar index, a gauge of its performance against six major currencies, slipped 0.1 percent to 80.456.

Against the yen, the dollar edged up 0.4 percent to 96.10 yen. The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.3960.

The dollar showed little reaction to comments from a Chinese Communist Party researcher that China should buy more gold because the U.S. currency is poised for a fall and the metal is needed to support a greater international role for the yuan.

Gold was up $4 an ounce at $935, while U.S. crude oil dipped 7 cents to $68.60 a barrel.

(Additional reporting by Junyoun Park in Seoul; Editing by Neil Fullick)