Nikkei rises to more than 1-week high after Fed rate hike
TOKYO Dec 17 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose to a more than one-week high on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a gradual tightening cycle with its first rate hike in nearly a decade, boosting risk appetite in the broader market.
In a well-anticipated move, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday. The decision lifted all but one of the 33 Topix subsectors.
The Nikkei share average ended 1.6 percent higher at 19,353.56, the highest closing level since Dec. 8.
Traders said investors were likely to take the Fed decision in their stride for now but will closely watch for signs of rising volatility, for indications of an adverse market reaction in the mid to long term.
"The focus is whether the market and Fed will be on the same page about the next rate hike and beyond," said Masaru Hamasaki, head of market & investment information department at Amundi Japan. "What becomes more important is the Fed's ability to communicate with the market well. If there is a gap between their thoughts, the market may struggle to rise further in the later half of next year."
The central bank made clear the rate hike was a tentative beginning to a "gradual" tightening cycle, and that in deciding its next move it would put a premium on monitoring inflation, which remains mired below target.
The broader Topix gained 1.6 percent to 1,564.71 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 1.6 percent to 14,097.38. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa and Joshua Hunt; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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