Asian stocks gain ahead of central bank meetings
SINGAPORE — Asian stock markets were boosted Wednesday by hopes European central bankers will buoy economic growth with new stimulus measures.
Global equities and commodities have rallied so far this week amid growing expectations that policymakers will use fiscal and monetary stimulus to bolster flagging growth. The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are scheduled to meet Thursday, and analysts are expecting lending rate cuts or a boost of money in circulation.
Investors this week have brushed off signs of weakening economic growth, including reports that showed falling industrial production in the U.S. and China, the world's two biggest economies. Some analysts say investors may be expecting too much from possible stimulus measures.
"The markets are seemingly banking on European policymakers and the U.S. Fed to turn things around quickly," said Julian Jessop, an economist with Capital Economics. "Nevertheless, in the best case, furthermore monetary stimulus may limit the downside for the prices of riskier assets."
Trading volume was light as markets in the U.S. were open for only a half-day Tuesday and will be closed Wednesday for the Independence Day holiday. The government's June jobs report is due Friday and second-quarter corporate revenues start straightway week.