(Bloomberg) -- Stocks extended gains in Asia after China appeared to soften is Covid stance and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled a slowdown in the pace of interest-rate hikes.
Most Read from Bloomberg
Scientists Revive 48,500-Year-Old 'Zombie Virus' Buried in Ice
An Arizona County's Refusal to Certify Election Results Could Cost GOP a House Seat
Stock Traders Cheer Powell's Risk-Friendly Shift: Markets Wrap
NYC Becomes One Billionaire Family's Haven From China Property Crash
These Are the Best and Worst Cities for Expats to Live and Work In
The dollar fell against most of its Group-of-10 counterparts, with the yen speeding to a three-month high. Treasury yields stabilized after large declines following Powell's comments.
US equity futures fluctuated while contracts for Europe climbed. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and mainland China traded more than 1% higher. The S&P 500 soared on Wednesday to end the month at the highest level since mid-September, led by a rally led by tech stocks.
Sentiment in Asia got an extra China's top official in charge of the fight against the coronavirus. Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said the country's efforts to combat the virus are entering a new phase with the omicron variant weakening and more Chinese getting vaccinated.
Powell's remarks affirmed expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates 50 basis points this month in a departure from a run of four 75 basis point hikes. Pricing in the swaps market indicates the Fed funds rate will peak below 5% in May. Prior to Powell's comments, the market anticipated a peak above that level occurring in June.
Equities were buoyed by Powell's indication that the Fed would balance tackling inflation with supporting the economy, said Krishna Guha, head of central bank strategy for Evercore ISI.
"Most importantly for risk assets, Powell's remarks embraced the return of some two-sided risk management. That is a big deal for equities and means an outsized move in stocks relative to the rates market is justified," he said.
Others were more skeptical about the driver behind the market moves and pointed to the possibility month-end portfolio positioning had amplified the price action.
Traders also scoured several economic reports, with key gauges of US activity painting a mixed third-quarter picture. Job openings fell in October -- a hopeful sign for the Fed as it seeks to curb demand.
The figures precede Friday's jobs report, which is currently forecast to show employers added 200,000 workers to payrolls in November. Economists are expecting the unemployment rate to hold at 3.7%, and for average hourly earnings to moderate.
Elsewhere in markets, oil fluctuated after three days of gains on China's Covid developments and data showing a steep drop in US inventories.
Gold edged higher in Asia -- following a 1% advance on Wednesday.
Key events this week:
S&P Global PMIs, Thursday
US construction spending, consumer income, initial jobless claims, ISM Manufacturing, Thursday
BOJ's Haruhiko Kuroda speaks, Thursday
US unemployment, nonfarm payrolls, Friday
ECB's Christine Lagarde speaks, Friday
Some of the main moves in markets:
Futures on the S&P 500 were little changed as of 12:27 p.m. Tokyo time. The S&P 500 rose 3.1%
Nasdaq 100 futures were flat. The Nasdaq 100 rose 4.6%
The Topix Index rose 0.2%
The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8%
The Hang Seng Index rose 1.1%
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7%
Euro Stoxx 50 futures rose 1.1%
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3%
The euro rose 0.2% to $1.0426
The Japanese yen rose 0.9% to 136.79 per dollar
The offshore yuan fell 0.3% to 7.0649 per dollar
Bitcoin rose 0.3% to $17,149.79
Ether fell 0.7% to $1,287.65
The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced one basis point to 3.62%
Australia's 10-year yield declined four basis points to 3.49%
West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.2% to $80.35 a barrel
Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,775.14 an ounce
This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.
--With assistance from Rita Nazareth.
Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek
TikTok's Viral Challenges Keep Luring Young Kids to Their Deaths
Car Price Divergence Hints at More Painful Inflation Ahead
The Avatar Sequel Is a Make-or-Break Moment for Disney's $71 Billion Fox Deal
Global Debt Costs Are Soaring. Here's Where It Will Hurt Most
Tesla's Lithium Lead at Risk as Rivals Make Supply Deals
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.