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Asian stocks rise after Fed minutes

Written by: Staff
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HONG KONG, Apr 19 (Reuters) Asian share markets rose on Wednesday after U.S. stocks posted their best gains in a year, as investor concerns about record oil prices gave way to optimism that U.S.

interest rate rises may be near an end.

Rising shares of exporters helped lift Japan's benchmark Nikkei 1.1 percent by 0041 GMT.

Technology companies gained after shares in IBM, the world's biggest computer-services company, and Yahoo Inc., the world's biggest Internet media company, rose in post-market trade following the firms' quarterly results.

Exporter Advantest Corp., which makes chip-testing equipment, rose about 2 percent, while electronics component maker Kyocera Corp. rose 3.4 percent.

Signals that the Fed was nearing the end of its tightening cycle helped drive the Tokyo market, said Katsuhiko Kodama, senior strategist at Toyo Securities.

''I don't think the market was expecting this ... Now it looks like many investors are expecting just one more interest rate rise, in May,'' Kodama said.

South Korea's benchmark KOSPI rose 1.2 percent, with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., the world's largest memory chip maker, up 2 percent, and chip maker Hynix Semiconductor Inc. rose 3.2 percent.

Energy stock SK Corp. jumped 2.38 percent after oil prices hit all-time highs above a barrel.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.94 percent, with top miner BHP Billiton up 2.8 percent on continued strength in metal and oil prices, which had been stoking inflation fears before the Fed minutes came out.

The world's second-biggest miner, Rio Tinto, added 3.3 percent.

The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed up 1.76 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index ended up 1.95 percent.

REUTERS

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