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Asian stocks open higher as Fed rejects inflation fears

Asian stocks edged up on Thursday following U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s reaffirmation that interest rates would stay low. This calmed market fears that higher inflation might push the U.S. central bank to tighten the monetary spigot.

“The dovish influence from the Federal Reserve is going to continue to resonate over in Asia.” This was a statement from Stephen Innes, a chief global markets strategist at Axi. “That’s good for emerging market assets when they’ve got a really good impulse from the Fed,” he added.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.90% in early trade, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 1.37%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index futures rose 0.92%.

The Fed has promised to get the U.S. economy back to full employment. He encouraged not to worry about inflation unless prices persistently increased. 

Powell reiterated this promise on the second day of testimony in Washington.

Stocks on the move.

Across the globe, MSCI’s gauge of stocks gained 0.12%. On Wall Street, rising stocks pushed the global benchmark to reverse previous losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a record high of 1.35% to 31,961.86. The S&P 500 gained 1.14%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq index fell as much as 1.3% earlier in the session. Nasdaq regained its footing, though, by early afternoon and ended up 0.99%.

GameStop Corp shares have more than doubled in price in late trading. This was at the center of a volatile retail trading frenzy movement late last month. It continued to soar in heavy, post-market trade. 

On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine appeared safe and effective in trials. This is paving the way for its approval for emergency use as soon as this week.

This was another boost to a strong recovery as Johnson & Johnson climbed 1.3%.

Meanwhile, in other stock market news, JPMorgan Chase & Co pledged another $350 million on Thursday. This was to help grow Black, Latinx, and women-owned businesses. It’s also part of a broader effort at the bank to help close the U.S. racial wealth gap.

The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, which provides funds to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) for low-interest loans, will get $42.5 million. This is part of the money pledged by the bank and is one of the largest contributions. It is more than the total amount of low-interest loans the fund has made in Detroit in the past 5 years.

Primarily, these CDFIs work with under-served small business owners located in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Detroit, and other U.S. cities.

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