On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. central bank will continue to buy bonds, easing borrowing rates. The Fed is awaiting further employment gains before it plans to change its policy.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Asian stock markets rose Thursday, signaling approval of the U.S. central bank's message that it will keep interest rates at record lows despite recent signs of improvement in the world's biggest economy.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said at the end of a two-day policy meeting that the Fed won't alter its aggressive monetary easing — $85 billion in monthly bond purchases to push down borrowing costs — until it is convinced the economy's gains can be sustained.
Fed officials reinforced their plan to keep short-term interest rates at rock-bottom levels at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent. The current unemployment rate is 7.7 percent.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 1.2 percent to 12,618.01 as the yen's decline continued to boost exporters. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1 percent to 22,283.33. South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 1,960.39. But Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3 percent to 4,951.90.
Traders, meanwhile, are still waiting to see how Cyprus will stave off bankruptcy after the country's government rejected a plan to contribute to a bailout package by seizing money from people's bank accounts.