Asia stocks: Federal Reserve, currencies, oil

SINGAPORE – Shares in Asia-Pacific were set to rise on Friday after a comeback on Wall Street as investors continued to digest the Fed’s plans to fight inflation.

Japan’s Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 27,125, while its counterpart in Osaka was at 27,030. The Nikkei 225 closed at 26,888.57 on Thursday.

Australia’s SPI futures contract was at 7,457, up from the S & P / ASX 200’s close at 7,442.8.

Major stock indexes in the US reversed losses to rise slightly at the close.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 87.06 points, or 0.25%, to 34,583.57 after losing as much as 300 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 was up 0.43% at 4,500.21, and the Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.06% to 13,897.30 following two straight days of losses.

Defensive stocks such as consumer staples and health care led the market comeback.

“The reaction to the Fed minutes early yesterday morning continued to dominate markets overnight,” Taylor Nugent, an economist at the National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

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