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SINGAPORE — Shares in Australia rose in Thursday morning trade following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s widely expected decision overnight to hike rates by half a a percentage point — its biggest increase in two decades.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia climbed 0.43%, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.67% higher.

Mainland Chinese stocks are set to return to trade following days of holidays. Investors will watch for market reaction after data released over the weekend showed Chinese factory activity contracted in April as Covid lockdowns hit industrial production.

Markets in Japan and South Korea are closed on Thursday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday increased its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, in line with market expectations. The central bank also outlined a program whereby it will eventually cut its bond holdings by $95 billion a month.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell emphasized the commitment to bringing inflation down, though he said a 75 basis points hike is “not something the committee is actively considering.”

Markets on Wall Street jumped overnight following the Fed decision, with the S&P 500 rising nearly 3% to 4,300.17. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 932.27 points, or 2.81%, to 34,061.06. The Nasdaq Composite soared 3.19% to 12,964.86.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 102.549 following a recent decline from above 103.

The Japanese yen traded at 129.13 per dollar, stronger as compared to levels above 130 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7257 after a recent surge from below $0.721.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

Source: DailyMail

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