Most Asian markets rise in thinned trade after Wall St rally

Most Asian markets rose Monday after a

late afternoon rally on Wall Street capped a volatile week for global

equities, though traders remained nervous about the Federal Reserve's plan to

hike interest rates as it battles surging inflation.

The Nasdaq led the strong finish for US equities thanks to a seven percent

bump for heavyweight Apple, which posted eye-watering fourth quarter profits

that lifted optimism about consumer spending and the economic recovery.

And the strong performance -- which was also helped by strong US economic

data -- filtered through to Asia, where trade was thinned by investors

winding down ahead of the three-day Lunar New Year break that starts Tuesday.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Wellington, Manila and Jakarta were all in

positive territory, though Sydney edged down. Shanghai, Seoul and Taipei were

closed for holidays.

The gains followed a period of upheaval across world markets as the Fed

readies to withdraw the vast financial support put in place at the start of

the pandemic, which has been a key driver of a near two-year equity rally.

And while further volatility is expected as the bank lifts borrowing costs,

commentators remain upbeat.

The recent selloff "marks a long overdue correction rather than the start

of a bear market", said analysts at BCA Research Inc.

They added: "Stocks often suffer a period of indigestion when bond yields

rise suddenly, but usually bounce back as long as yields do not move into

economically restrictive territory."

Still, observers continue to debate the Fed's likely moves as inflation

sits at a four-decade high, with some saying it could hike up to seven times

before 2023, with an initial 50 basis point move in March.

In an interview with the Financial Times published Saturday, Atlanta Fed

chief Raphael Bostic said he expected three hikes this year but warned "every

option is on the table for every meeting".

He stressed that he would be "comfortable" with the idea of making an

increase at each of the bank's seven meetings this year.

Oil prices climbed more than one percent on expectations that demand will

continue as economies re-open and people start travelling again, while

worries about a Russian invasion of Ukraine fed fears about possible supply


Analysts have said that if Russia sends troops into the country, crude

prices could top $100 for the first time since 2014.

- Key figures around 0230 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 26,981.89 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.7 percent at 23,712.23

Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a holiday

Dollar/yen: UP at 115.53 yen from 115.24 yen late Friday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1159 from $1.1158

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3412 from $1.3389

Euro/pound: UP at 83.20 pence from 83.16 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.5 percent at $88.12 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.4 percent at $91.33 per barrel

New York - Dow: UP 1.7 percent at 34,725.47 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.2 percent at 7,466.07 (close)

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)