But Standard Chartered’s Hong Kong-listed shares fell for a second day, following huge losses in London on Tuesday, after the bank was accused by US regulators of hiding sanction-busting multi-billion-dollar trades with Iran.
Tokyo climbed 1.63 percent by the break, Seoul rallied 1.49 percent, Hong Kong was 0.58 percent higher and Sydney gained 0.54 percent while Shanghai was up 0.20 percent.
Hopes for US action were lifted on Tuesday following a Dow Jones Newswires report that the president of the Boston Fed said the US central bank should launch an aggressive open-ended bond-buying programme to boost the economy until unemployment begins falling again.
The news boosted Wall Street where the three main indices also rose for a third straight day. The Dow finished 0.39 percent higher, while the tech-rich Nasdaq gained 0.87 percent and the S&P 500 rose 0.51 percent.
Expectations have risen over the past week that the European Central Bank will restart its purchases of sovereign debt to help struggling nations such as Spain and Italy, which have seen their borrowing costs surge to dangerous levels.
“Hopes for more ECB easing in particular are realistic; something clearly must be done to help strapped borrowers like Spain and Italy, even though Germany is resistant,” said Tachibana Securities market analyst Kenichi Hirano.
On currency markets the euro, which has been supported this week by hopes for ECB intervention, eased a tad to $1.2397 in Asian trade from $1.2401 late Tuesday in New York, while edging down to 97.34 yen from 97.48 yen.
The dollar was at 78.52 yen in Tokyo, against 78.59 yen in New York.
In Hong Kong Standard Chartered fell 1.3 percent, after slumping almost 15 percent on Tuesday following claims by US regulators that it regularly disguised forex deals with Iran that potentially opened the US banking system to terrorists and criminals.
The Department of Financial Services (DFS) branded it a “rogue institution” and threatened it with fines and the suspension of its licence, which would close it off from the crucial US financial market.
London-based Standard Chartered said it “strongly rejects… the portrayal of facts as set out” by the DFS.
But the denial did little to appease investors in London, where it is also listed, with its price diving 16.76 percent, having been down by one quarter at one point.
Oil was lower Tuesday morning, with New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for September delivery, down 33 cents to $93.34 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for September 40 cents off at $111.60.
Gold was at $1,610.35 at 0245 GMT, from $1,614.90 on Tuesday.
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