Asia markets cheer Fed decision to hold rates

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This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

Asia markets rose sharply as investors took comfort from the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to leave its benchmark interest rates unchanged, while parsing inflation and trade data from across the region.

The Fed on Wednesday again held rates steady amid signs of economic growth, while labor market conditions and inflation remain above the central bank's target. The decision also included an upgrade to the Fed's general assessment of the economy. 

Data from South Korea showed consumer prices accelerated for the third straight month in October, with the CPI rising 3.8% year-on-year. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting an increase of 3.6%.

Australia's September goods trade surplus narrowed to its lowest in 32 months, according to official data.

Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1.15%. The Topix added 0.76%, hitting fresh three week highs.

South Korea's Kospi gained 1.99%, while the Kosdaq rose 3.65%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1.43% at open, while China's CSI 300 opened up 0.4%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.20%, edging close to its highest level in nearly two weeks.

U.S. markets rebounded from a dismal past three months on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged for a second consecutive time — leading investors to think the central bank would stay put for the rest of the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.67%. The S&P 500 climbed 1.05%, briefly crossing its 200-day moving average. The Nasdaq Composite added 1.64%.

— CNBC's Sarah Min and Pia Singh contributed to this report

DBS leads losses in Singapore after MAS imposes six-month pause on new investments

Shares of DBS Bank slipped 0.36% in early trade, in contrast to the 0.62% gain on Singapore's Straits Times Index.

This comes after Singapore's monetary authority imposed a six-month pause on new investments by the bank, among other measures, following a wide ranging outage of digital and physical banking services on Oct.15.

Earlier this year, DBS suffered two outages in March and May, leading the Monetary Authority of Singapore to call the outages "unacceptable" and impose an additional capital requirement on the bank.

—Lim Hui Jie

Hong Kong retail sales clock slowest growth since start of the year

Hong Kong's retail sales grew at their slowest pace since January, highlighting the impact of a global high interest rate environment.

Retail sales for September rose 13% on a year-over-year basis, less than the prior month's 13.7% rise, official data showed late on Wednesday.

"The culprit of sluggish recovery is elevated interest rates, which has been dampening consumption & tourism, external trade, and investment," said Samuel Tse, a DBS economist. "HK economic fundamentals closely follows the Mainland (China)."

Tse says external demand from both China and the rest of the world were tepid, highlighting that rising rates restrained consumption through high fixed deposits rate, a strong Hong Kong dollar and a weak asset market.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

CNBC Pro: Tencent, Alibaba and more: Jefferies says buybacks are gathering steam in Asia, names stocks to watch

Analysts at investment firm Jefferies named Asian stocks primed to or continuing with significant buybacks, which they said are an opportunity for investors.

Companies buy shares back from investors for several reasons such as having a strong balance sheet and making valuations more attractive. Buybacks also provide a "sustained source of demand for equities while being a confidence-booster in terms of companies' belief in their own stock," Jefferies' analysts wrote in an Oct. 25 research note.

Several Chinese tech giants such as Tencent and Alibaba turned up on the list.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

CNBC Pro: Will the S&P 500 rally by year-end? Morgan Stanley's Slimmon weighs in — and names a Big Tech stock to buy

Will the S&P 500 be nearer to 5,000 by the end of the year?

Morgan Stanley Investment Management's Andrew Slimmon was among some on Wall Street who earlier this year believed so.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here about what he thinks now.

Slimmon said if the market does rally into the year-end, it will be led by the "Magnificent Seven" stocks, naming his preferred play.

— Weizhen Tan

South Korea reports hotter than expected inflation rate, accelerating for third straight month

South Korea's inflation rate quickened for the third straight month in October, with the consumer price index increasing 3.8% year-on-year.

This was higher than the 3.6% expected by economists polled by Reuters, and also more than the 3.7% rise in September.

The reading marks the third straight month that the inflation rate in the country has climbed, after hitting a 25-month low of 2.3% in July.

— Lim Hui Jie

Fed keeps rates unchanged

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged at a range of 5.25%-5.5%. The central bank also upgraded its view of the economy.

In a statement, the Fed said "economic activity expanded at a strong pace in the third quarter." In previous remarks, the central bank noted the economy was growing at a "solid pace." The Fed on Wednesday also said job gains "have moderated since earlier in the year but remain strong."

— Fred Imbert

'Tighter' financial conditions may keep riskier assets from rallying, says Gina Bolvin

According to Gina Bolvin, the Federal Reserve's assessment of the economy may weigh on more volatile assets in the near term.

"The Fed acknowledging that 'financial conditions have tightened' may keep riskier assets from rallying in the short term," said Bolvin, president of Boston-based Bolvin Wealth Management Group. "So far, no change in the fed funds rate leaves fixed income and the equity market unchanged. The Fed is probably done."

After the Fed maintained interest rates at current levels, chair Jerome Powell said that taming inflation will likely require a slowdown in growth and in the labor market. "Tighter financial and credit conditions for households and businesses are likely to weigh on economic activity, hiring and inflation," read Wednesday's Federal Open Market Committee statement.

Stocks rallied Wednesday afternoon, to be sure, with the information technology and communication sectors leading the market higher by 1.8% and 1.6%, respectively.

— Pia Singh

December Fed rate increase odds fall, based on futures tracked by CME FedWatch

The odds that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates another quarter point at its next meeting on Dec. 13 narrowed on Wednesday following the central bank's November meeting.

The implied probability of a December hike dropped to 17.1%, down from 28.8% Tuesday and 29.3% a week ago, according to the CME FedWatch tool, which is based on 30-day fed funds futures prices.

Fed funds currently stand at 5.25%-5.50%, where they were set by the Fed in July.

— Scott Schnipper

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