MONETARY MOVES: Some analysts said the recent advances in stock markets are driven by expectations that central banks around the world may do more to support economic growth. Some economists expect the Bank of Japan will increase its asset purchase program and a number of European Central Bank members have talked up the prospect of additional asset purchases.
ANALYST QUOTE: IG market analyst Angus Nicholson says there is “cautious positioning ahead of the Fed rates decision, with currency moves in particular reflecting the general feeling that rates will be left unchanged.”
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 advanced 1.4 percent to 18,432.27 and South Korea’s Kospi closed up 0.1 percent at 1,976.49. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.9 percent to 5,146.80. Markets in Southeast Asia were also higher but China’s Shanghai Composite Index closed down 2.1 percent at 3,086.06 after volatile trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.5 percent to 21,854.63.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude edged down 39 cents at $46.76 per barrel on electronic trading in New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $2.56, or 5.7 percent, to close at $47.15 per barrel on Wednesday after a steeper-than-expected drop in crude inventories. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, lost 32 cents to $50.20 per barrel in London after a 4-percent jump in the previous session.
CURRENCIES: Emerging market currencies posted gains against the dollar. The dollar fell 0.4 percent against the South Korean won and 0.1 percent against the Indonesian rupiah. Among major currency pairs, the dollar strengthened to 120.91 yen from 120.56 yen on Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1328 from $1.1289.