Asian shares soar to 1-month highs on earnings, Fed optimism

Asian shares climbed to one-month highs on Wednesday, steered by a robust Wall Street on optimism over corporate earnings and prospects the U.S. Federal Reserve will reaffirm its willingness to wait for an extended period before raising interest rate
Asian shares climbed to one-month highs on Wednesday, steered by a robust Wall Street on optimism over corporate earnings and prospects the U.S. Federal Reserve will reaffirm its willingness to wait for an extended period before raising interest rates. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares climbed to one-month highs on Wednesday, steered by a robust Wall Street on optimism over corporate earnings and prospects the U.S. Federal Reserve will reaffirm its willingness to wait for an extended period before raising interest rates.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1.1 per cent, led by a 1.8 per cent rise in South Korean shares. Japan's Nikkei share average also posted a sizable 1.5 per cent increase.

European shares are expected to follow suit, with spreadbetters looking to gains of up to 0.4 per cent in Germany's DAX and Britain's FTSE.

U.S. stocks rose more than 1 per cent on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 coming less than two percent below its record peak set last month.

The Fed is widely expected to announce on Wednesday it will end its two-year-old bond-buying stimulus, known as quantitative easing three, as the U.S. economy continues to gather momentum.

Still Fed officials have also stressed they are in no hurry to take policy tightening a step further by raising rates from near zero levels due to subdued inflation and the poor quality of a recovery in labour markets.

"There are some views that the tapering process could be delayed to run through the rest of this year, but it is more likely that the Fed will maintain its current stance of exercising prudence in consideration of any rate hike," said Lim Dong-rak, an analyst at Hanyang Securities.

Upbeat U.S. earnings so far have also eased worries that corporate profits might be squeezed by sluggish global growth.

With 245 companies in the S&P 500 having reported earnings so far for the third quarter, 73.5 per cent have beat analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters. Over the past four quarters, 67 per cent of companies have beat estimates.

Still, Facebook Inc shocked investors after the market close on Tuesday, warning of a dramatic increase in spending in 2015 and projected a slowdown in revenue growth this quarter, falling 8.2 per cent in after hours trading.