As investors consider the Fed’s response to Ukraine threats, Asian stocks are mostly higher and bond yields are lower

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On Thursday, Asian stock markets were broadly higher, while bond yields continued to fall as investors evaluated the risks of a Ukraine invasion against hints that the US Federal Reserve will not be as aggressive in tightening policy as some had expected.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks rose 0.27 percent, restricted by losses in Japanese markets, with the Nikkei dropping 0.29 percent on renewed fears that Russia would invade Ukraine.

Blue chips in China gained 0.36 percent, erasing a previous drop. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.46 percent.

Higher metals prices overshadowed geopolitical concerns, and Australia’s benchmark increased 0.65%. The Kospi in South Korea increased by 1.38 percent.

S& P 500 futures in the United States fell 0.07 percent.

Markets are still jittery after Western countries, notably the United States, warned on Wednesday that Russia’s military presence on Ukraine’s borders is expanding, not diminishing, as Moscow claims.

Concerns about a hardline Fed rate-hiking campaign, which may include a 50-basis-point boost next month, eased overnight after minutes from the most recent policy meeting showed a more measured, data-dependent approach from central bank officials.

According to Trinh Nguyen, a senior economist at Natixis, the less hawkish Fed minutes are a positive sign that markets can re-adjust after previously pricing in rapid rate hikes.

The odds of a half-point raise on March 16 are approximately 43%, with a total tightening of about 150 basis points this year.

In Asia on Thursday, US Treasury yields continued to fall, with the 10-year yield falling about 2 basis points to 2.03 percent, weighed down by predictions of a less aggressive Fed and demand for safe-haven assets during the Ukraine crisis.

The dollar index, which compares the greenback to six major currencies, fell 0.06 percent to 95.770.

Gold remained near an eight-month high of $1879.48 on Tuesday, thanks to a softer dollar and lower yields, as well as the low-risk sentiment. It was recently trading at $1,868 per ounce.

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