Asian shares, US futures advance after Biden speech

Asian shares, US futures advance after Biden speech


Asian shares rose Thursday and U.S. futures also were higher after President Joe Biden delivered a speech to Congress outlining ambitious plans for jobs- creating spending on early education, child care and other public services.

Investors have stayed on the sidelines ahead of the release later in the day of U.S. growth data for the January-March quarter. The gross domestic product reading, could top 5% and accelerate even more to 10% or even more in the current April-June quarter as pent-up demand fuels spending.

Shares rose in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney. Bond yields held steady while oil prices advanced.

Benchmarks on Wall Street slipped Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it is leaving its key interest rate unchanged near zero, while noting recent improvement in the economy.

In his speech Wednesday evening, the president ticked off details of some of his plan for $1.8 trillion in spending to expand preschool, create a national family and medical leave program, distribute child care subsidies and more.

The plan comes on top of his proposal for $2.3 trillion in spending to rebuild roads and bridges, expand broadband access and launch other infrastructure projects.

The future for the Dow industrials rose 0.4% while that for the S&P 500 climbed 0.6%.

In Asian trading, markets in Japan were closed for a holiday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6% to 29,245.26 and the Shanghai Composite index picked up 0.3% to 3,465.98. In Seoul, the Kospi gained 0.1% to 3,184.78. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4% to 7,082.80.

In its latest policy update, the U.S. central bank left its benchmark short-term rate near zero, where it’s been since the pandemic erupted nearly a year ago, to help keep loan rates down to encourage borrowing and spending. It also said that...

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