SINGAPORE (Bloomberg) - Asian stocks advanced for the first time in three days as investors weighed the minutes of the Federal Reserve's last meeting and awaited China manufacturing data.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1 per cent to 153.02 as of 9:02 a.m. in Tokyo.
The Fed minutes reinforced the view that interest rates will probably be boosted in the second half of this year. China factory activity may show improvement this month, preliminary estimates from HSBC and Markit Economics due today are expected to show, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
"With the Fed expecting to maintain the status quo, that's a plus for the stock market right now," said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. "It was mostly in line with the market's thinking."
Fed officials last month didn't expect to raise rates at their June meeting even as they concluded that a first-quarter economic slowdown was unlikely to persist, the meeting minutes showed. A few members said they anticipated the economy would be ready for a June liftoff.
Japan's Topix index added 0.3 per cent. South Korea's Kospi index was little changed. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.2 per cent, while New Zealand's NZX 50 Index lost 0.2 per cent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to open.
China's CSI 300 Index technology gauge on Wednesday jumped 1.5 per cent to a record on a Xinhua News Agency report that the government will boost incentives for industries including information technology and robotics.
E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.2 percent. The underlying gauge lost 0.1 per cent on Wednesday amid a selloff in airlines.