Asian Shares Trede Higher as Interest Rates Hike Continue in Focus

Asian shares edged mostly higher on Friday following a set of strong U.S. economic data reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve will stick to its current policy of maintaining high interest rates for a longer period of time.

The Shanghai Composite in mainland China rebounded to a green territory, gaining 0.40% despite factory activity data in the country contracted for a third straight month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics release.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.51%.

In South Korea, the Kospi added 0.37%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.30% as traders processed data showing that Tokyo’s core consumer price index has been above the central bank’s target for thirteen months running.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 traded flat.

Overnight in the U.S., the Dow rose 269.76 points, or 0.8% led by major banks. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs each rose more than 3%, while Wells Fargo advanced 4.5%.

The Nasdaq Composite remained unchanged at 13,591.33, while the S&P 500 gained 0.45% to finish at $4,396.44.

The data this week has shown a strong U.S. economy, which has calmed some concerns of a recession, but also raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue down its hawkish path.

Unemployment claims in the United States dropped surprisingly last week, indicating sustained resilience in the labor market.

The Commerce Department’s third estimate of first-quarter GDP, released Thursday, indicated that the economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.0% in the previous quarter, compared to economists’ forecast of 1.4% growth.