Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher after Fed pledge

A school group walks by the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.  Major indexes are off to a mixed start on Wall Street as gains for banks and industrial companies are offset by losses in Big Tech stocks like Apple and Amazon. The S&P 500 was down 0.2% in the first few minutes of trading Wednesday, a day after it narrowly managed to break a five-day losing streak.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A school group walks by the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Major indexes are off to a mixed start on Wall Street as gains for banks and industrial companies are offset by losses in Big Tech stocks like Apple and Amazon. The S&P 500 was down 0.2% in the first few minutes of trading Wednesday, a day after it narrowly managed to break a five-day losing streak. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

BANGKOK – Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher Thursday after the Federal Reserve chairman said the U.S. central bank is in no hurry to withdraw support for the economy.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul all advanced.

Overnight, Wall Street hit a new high after chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed sees no sign inflation might rise out of control. That helped to dampen fears sparked by a rise in U.S. Treasury bond yields, an indicator of inflation sentiment, that rising price pressure might lead the Fed to raise interest rates.

"Powell has again been pouring oil on troubled markets and making some very sensible distinctions between price level rises and inflation," said Robert Carnell of ING in a report. “But the Fed still has communication issues over its future policies which could emerge as a tantrum some way down the line.”

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9% to 3,597.01 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 1.5% to 30,125.89.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 2% to 30,301.64 after the territory's government promised more coronavirus aid and forecast economic growth of at least 3.5% this year.

The Kospi in Seoul added 3.3% to 3,056.22 after the Bank of Korea left interest rates unchanged and forecast 3% annual economic growth.

Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was 0.8% higher at 6,834.00 and India's Sensex opened up 0.9% at 51,249.19. New Zealand retreated while Southeast Asian markets advanced.