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Pedestrians look at an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Asian stock markets mostly lower Tuesday tracking Wall Street's decline, as jittery investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates and Britain's vote on European Union membership. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Asian stocks rise amid hopes Britain will stay in EU

WT24 Desk

Beijing — Asian stocks rose Tuesday on optimism Britain will vote to stay in the European Union as investors awaited an economic report by the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve, AP reports.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.2 percent to 16,158.58 points and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 percent to 2,893.42. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.5 percent to 20,619.72 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 5,268.90. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia also rose. India’s Sensex lost 0.2 percent to 26,819.04 and New Zealand also declined.

BREXIT: Global stocks gained as opinion polls and betting markets indicated Britons will vote to remain in the European Union in a referendum Thursday. Many expect a departure, known informally as Brexit, would hurt the British economy and possibly encourage other countries to leave. Uncertainty about the outcome has weighed on global markets. The vote is expected to be close.

FED WATCH: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was due to give a semiannual report on the U.S. economy to the Senate. The Fed suggested in a statement after its latest policy meeting that it needs a clearer economic picture before resuming interest rate hikes it began in December. Some economists think a July increase is possible if the job market rebounds from a dismal May and financial markets remain calm after Britain’s EU vote.

ANALYST’S QUOTE: “There has been little follow-through to the rapid recovery in sentiment witnessed during yesterday’s Asian trading session,” said Citigroup analysts in a report. With no major data due out in Asia, “investors will likely continue to focus on the calculus surrounding the UK’s EU referendum,” they said. “There will also be interest in tonight’s Congressional testimony by Fed Chair Yellen.”

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks rose on optimism British voters will choose to stay in the EU. The British pound rose sharply and investors dumped ultra-safe assets like U.S. government bonds, gold and utility stocks, sending those prices lower. Machinery and consumer companies jumped and energy companies rose with the price of oil. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.7 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 0.6 percent and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.8 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 14 cents to $49.81 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract soared $1.40 on Monday to close at $49.96. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 25 cents to $50.40 in London. It gained $1.48 on Monday to $50.65.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 104.12 yen from Monday’s 103.85 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1337 from $1.1323.

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