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Asian Shares Advance As Fed Chair Hints At Rate Cut

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Asian stocks rose on Thursday as dovish remarks from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reignited hopes of a U.S. interest rate cut later this month.

China's Shanghai Composite Index inched up 2.46 points or 0.1 to 2,917.76, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 227.11 points or 0.8 percent to 28,431.80.

Japanese shares climbed even as the yen strengthened in reaction to Powell's downbeat tone on the economy. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 110.05 points or 0.5 percent to 21,643.53, while the broader Topix closed 0.5 percent higher at 1,578.63.

Gaming giant Nintendo surged 4.2 percent after announcing a smaller, cheaper version of the Switch. Exporters turned in a mixed performance, with Canon rising 0.8 percent and Nissan Motor adding 0.3 percent, while Honda Motor and Toyota moved lower.

Among tech stocks, Advantest advanced 1.5 percent and Tokyo Electron gained 1.6 percent. Oil firm Japan Petroleum jumped over 3 percent and Inpex Corp. added 2.3 percent.

On the other hand, shares of Japan Post Insurance slumped 6.4 percent after the company admitted mismanagement in connection with more than 90,000 insurance policies.

Australian markets advanced on Fed policy expectations. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 26.30 points or 0.4 percent to 6,716.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 28.10 points or 0.4 percent at 6,805.80.

Gold miners Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining jumped over 2 percent as gold prices scaled a more than one-week high on dollar weakness after Powell's dovish remarks.

Santos, Origin Energy and Oil Search climbed 1-3 percent after a 4.5 percent jump in oil prices overnight.

Banks ended on a mixed note after they were slapped with tougher capital requirements. Also, the lenders were warned of action over the sale of consumer credit insurance that has "consistently failed consumers."

Shares of Virgin Australia Holdings tumbled 2.9 percent. The airline said Affinity Equity Partners, the fund manager that purchased a 35 percent stake in its frequent flyer program in August 2014, is looking to sell its stake.

Seoul stocks rallied as rising expectations of a Fed cut outweighed concerns over Tokyo's move to tighten controls on high-tech exports. The benchmark Kospi surged up 21.80 points or 1.1 percent to 2,080.58.

Tech stocks extended gains, with Samsung Electronics rising 1.4 percent and SK Hynix climbing 3.6 percent after the ruling party called for a 300 billion won ($254.8 million) extra budget to cope with the export restrictions.

New Zealand shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending up 37.18 points or 0.4 percent at 10,687.32. Dairy firm a2 Milk Company advanced 1.4 percent after soaring 6.6 percent in the previous session.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended higher after Powell strongly hinted at a potential rate cut later this month and the June FOMC minutes showed increasing support for lowering rates amid increased economic uncertainties and muted inflation pressures.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 index briefly crossed the 3,000-point mark for the first time before closing half a percent higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.8 percent to hit a record closing high.

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