Asian Markets End Higher Ahead of Fed Decision

Asian markets ended firmly in the green Tuesday in the run up to an interest-rate decision in the U.S. and following a Wall Street rally Monday as credit concerns eased.

UBS revealed a $10 billion write-down on due to subprime problems. But investors took to heart an emergency injection of funds from Singapore and the Middle East. Hopes for a U.S. rate cut later on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve policy meeting were also seen keeping markets buoyed.

Financial shares rose across the region with Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ, South Korea's Woori Finance Holdings and Australia's Allco Finance Group all climbing higher.


The Nikkei 225 Average closed stronger, finishing above the 16,000 level for the first time in more than a month as fund injections into UBS helped ease concerns over the global financial crisis, sending Sumitomo
Mitsui Financial Group
higher. Exporters like Sony were also traded higher as the dollar gained against the yen.

Seoul shares finished almost 1 percent with banks and telecom stocks rallying as fears about the global credit crunch abated after U.S. lenders received cash infusions, and on hopes for their earnings growth and dividends.

Australian shares ended 0.8 percent higher, led by financial stocks after a cash infusion into UBS and anticipation of an interest rate cut in the United States boosted the sector on Wall Street. Expectations of a rate cut also lifted stocks geared to the U.S. economy such as shopping mall owner Westfield Group and James Hardie Industries.

Hong Kong stocks closed 2.6 percent higher ahead of a widely expected interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Interest rate-sensitive stocks such as property issues remained firm, with shares in Sun Hung Kai Properties moving forward.

Singapore's Straits Times Index were 1.1 percent higher at the close. Shares of The Hour Glass jumped after luxury watch retailer said it will propose a share spilt of one ordinary share into two shares to increase liquidity in its shares.

China's Shanghai Composite Index edged into positive territory before the close, despite weakness in banking and property shares. The government said November consumer price inflation was 6.9 percent, the highest in almost 11 years and up from October's 6.5 percent.