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Asia: Stocks climb after biggest weekly rally since Dec 2011

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Asian stocks rose after posting their steepest weekly advance since Dec 2011, with technology and industrial shares leading gains.

[SINGAPORE] Asian stocks rose after posting their steepest weekly advance since Dec 2011, with technology and industrial shares leading gains.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Excluding Japan Index climbed 0.2 per cent to 425.16 as of 9.32 am in Hong Kong, with Tokyo markets closed for a holiday. The measure jumped 6.5 percent last week. The comeback in global equities after their worst quarter in four years is being underpinned by sentiment surrounding central banks, which are showing little desire to pull back on stimulus.

"The only data supporting raising the Fed funds rate has been employment, which has begun to shrink in the last quarter," Evan Lucas, a markets strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne, said in an e-mail to clients. "Coupled with increased talks of the approaching debt-ceiling negotiations, not to mention the 2016 presidential elections, all means we are seeing signs of the liftoff being pushed back, as inflation remains nowhere to be seen." South Korea's Kospi index added 0.1 per cent. New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed 0.7 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rallied 0.5 per cent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index increased 0.3 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.7 per cent, with energy shares leading losses after surging last week.  Odds of a Fed liftoff this year have fallen to below 50 per cent, with traders predicting a 62 per cent chance of an increase by March.

Speaking at a meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Peru, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said Sunday that while the US economy may be strong enough to withstand a rate increase by the end of 2015, policy makers are monitoring labor conditions and the situation internationally as they mull when to pull the trigger.

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