Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Asian stocks, dollar firmer as Yellen hints at March rate hike

Asian stocks rose early on Wednesday as Wall Street set record highs overnight after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke in support of an interest rate hike next month, while the dollar hovered near three-week highs. Yellen said on Tuesday that the Fed will probably need to raise interest rates at an upcoming meeting in March, and that delaying rate increases could leave the Fed's policymaking committee behind the curve. 

Yellen's comments boosted US bank stocks, helping push Wall Street indexes to record highs overnight. The rise in US stocks nudged MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan to a 19-month high. The index was up 0.3 percent early on Wednesday.

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