TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares rose Wednesday, and Japan’s benchmark hit an 18-year high, amid optimism about a bailout deal between Greece and its creditors.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.5 percent to 20,922.00, its highest in 18 years. South Korea’s Kospi was little changed at 2,081.19. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.1 percent to 27,355.97. Other regional stock markets were mostly higher, including Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.
GREECE HOPES: Greece faces defaulting on its debt without new loans, but appeared to be moving closer to an agreement to secure new funding. A Greek default and the nation’s potential exit from the euro currency could shake financial markets.
EYES ON FED: Investors also remain focused on when the U.S. Federal Reserve might increase its key interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Fed Gov. Jerome Powell said at an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he expects the U.S. central bank to begin raising its benchmark interest rate in September, with a second rate rise coming in December.
THE QUOTE: “The risk appetite in Asian markets may wane a little if we were to take cues from overnight markets. Gains in European equities, while still rather strong, are not as impressive as that on Monday,” said Bernard Aw, market strategist with IG in Singapore.
WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.29 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,144.07 on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 1.35 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,124.20 and the Nasdaq composite rose 6.12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,160.09.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery rose 13 cents to $61.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for U.S. crude for July delivery expired at $59.68. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 5 cents to $64.50 in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro was little changed at $1.1183. The dollar cost 123.86 yen, up slightly from 123.62 yen in the previous trading session.