Asian stock markets advanced Wednesday on expectations that the major central banks around the world would announce further stimulus measures to spur economic growth.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei gained 1.11 percent or 96.44 points to 8,752.31 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.53 percent or 102.18 points to 19,518.85. India's benchmark BSE Sensex gained 0.11 percent or 18.04 points to 16877.84 while Chinese Shanghai Composite slipped 0.34 percent or 7.92 points to 2292.88.
The recent batch of disappointing economic readings from the U.S., including a slowdown in job creation for the third straight month, raised fears that the strength of economic recovery in the world's largest economy is losing steam.
Investors are optimistic that the weak economic data, coupled with intensifying crisis in the euro zone, will force policy makers to announce further monetary easing measures most likely through extending its Operation Twist program, at the June two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting (FOMC), which will be concluded Wednesday.
Facing an intensification of downside risks to growth prospects in the U.S., it will be difficult for the FOMC to remain inactive. We believe that the FOMC will find it prudent to increase current policy accommodation in June with a modest $200 billion increase in its maturity extension program (Operation Twist), said a note from Credit Agricole.
We suspect that the Fed would reserve more dramatic stimulus measures, such as additional asset purchases, for use in case of a significant threat to the recovery or a strong disinflationary trend. Extending operation twist buys time for the Fed to evaluate incoming data, the note said.
Meanwhile, Antonis Samaras, the leader of the centre-right New Democracy party, is expected to form a new pro-bailout coalition government by Wednesday. New Democracy party chief Antonis Samaras held talks with leaders of the PASOK and the small Democratic Left group under extreme pressure from European leaders to quickly form a new government that would be committed to maintaining strict austerity measures in the debt-ridden nation.
In Japan, exporter and automaker companies' shares rallied on weaker yen. Sony Corp. surged 3.47 percent and Nec Corp. advanced 2.38 percent while Toyota and Honda Motors gained more than 1.1 percent.
Financial shares rallied across the region on easing hopes and resource companies' shares advanced on higher commodity prices. Nomura Holdings surged 4.03 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial rose 2.78 percent in Tokyo while Aluminum Corp. of China gained 2.71 percent and Jiangxi Copper rose 2.35 percent in Hong Kong.