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Asian Markets Called Higher On Fed Comments

The Asian stock markets are expected to open higher on Thursday following upbeat commentary from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The Fed left interest rates at near-zero levels and reiterated that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014.

Additionally, the central bank said it now expects GDP to increase by 2.4 to 2.9 percent in 2012 compared to its previous forecast for 2.2 to 2.7 percent growth.

Bernanke assured that all policy tools remain at the Fed's disposal, but analysts say the Fed's optimistic outlook takes additional asset purchases off the table barring a turn for the worse for the economy.

The major U.S. averages ended firmly higher on Wednesday. The Dow rose 89.16 points or 0.7 percent to finish at 13,090.72, while the NASDAQ surged up 68.03 points or 2.3 percent to end at 3,029.63 and the S&P 500 climbed 18.72 points or 1.4 percent to 1,390.69.

The major European markets also were up on Wednesday. The DAX of Germany gained 1.73 percent and the CAC 40 of France closed up by 2.02 percent. The SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 0.42 percent and the FTSE 100 of the U.K. rose by 0.16 percent.

The Asian markets were mostly higher on Wednesday as Japan's Nikkei spiked 1 percent, while Taiwan jumped 0.85 percent, China's Shanghai Composite climbed 0.75 percent, Indonesia collected 0.4 percent, Singapore's Straits Times added 0.18 percent and Thailand was up 0.13 percent.

Moving lower, Malaysia shed 0.19 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index eased 0.15 percent and South Korea's KOSPI dipped 0.07 percent. Markets in Australia and New Zealand were closed for Anzac Day.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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