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Asian Stocks Up, U.S. Stimulus and Fed Policy Decision Eyed

Asia Pacific stocks were mostly up on Wednesday morning after their biggest decline in two months. Investors continued to digest U.S. earnings reports, COVID-19 virus variants, and hurdles to more U.S. Stimulus measures.

By 10:36 PM ET (3:36 AM GMT), Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.78% after returning from a holiday. Earlier today, the most recent data showed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.9% both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. This is during the fourth quarter of 2020.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.15%. The government implemented a second flash neighbourhood lockdown in Yau Ma Tei. However, then it was lifted in less than 24 hours.

China’s Shanghai Composite dipped 0.03% while the Shenzhen Component rose 0.07%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.28%. Set to expire on Feb. 7, the country’s state of emergency could reportedly be extended until the end of February.

South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.05%.

Global shares are staying near record highs. The U.S. corporate earnings season is gearing up for the week. 

The COVID-19 variants have prompted governments to impose fresh restrictive measures such as lockdowns. Additionally, they weigh in on reflection trades betting on an end to these curbs.

The U.S. Stimulus and Fed Policy Decision

The stock market awaits answers to questions such as the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package’s timing and size. The U.S proposed this, President Joe Biden, earlier in the month.

A vote on a budget resolution could take place as early as the following week. It is a possible first step towards passing the package via reconciliation. This was a statement from Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer.

Some investors say COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and economic recovery are the keys to sustaining a rally.

Biden’s administration indicated ordering 100 million more doses each of Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccines. It also plans to expedite shipments to states, at least temporarily.

As of Jan. 27, the number of global cases has exceeded 100 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Moreover, the same data showed that the number of deaths in the U.K. passed the 100,00 mark.

The Federal Reserve will wrap up a two-day policy meeting and hand down its policy decision later in the day. 

On Thursday, the U.S. will release a slew of economic data. These include Q4 GDP, initial jobless claims, and new home sales. To be released a day later are Personal income, spending, and pending home sales data.

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