TOKYO, Oct 15: Asian shares rose to 2-month highs on Thursday and the dollar struggled near multi-week lows after weak U.S. economic data added to expectations that the Federal Reserve will delay hiking interest rates.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 1.9 per cent to its highest since mid-August.
Spreadbetters saw the lift for equities being maintained into Europe, forecasting a higher open for Britain's FTSE .FTSE, Germany's DAX .GDAXI and France's CAC .FCHI.
Australian shares nudged up 0.7 per cent. South Korea's Kospi .KS11 soared 1.2 per cent while Shanghai shares .SSEC advanced 1.4 per cent on latest round of hopes that Beijing would launch stimulus to shore up the economy.
"There seem to be considerable expectations of further economic stimulus, which could mitigate some of deflationary pressures," said Gerry Alfonso, analyst at Shenwan Hongyuan Securities.
Japan's Nikkei .N225 pared earlier losses and gained 1.3 per cent, brushing off soft domestic data.
Japanese manufacturers' confidence worsened for the second straight month in October and is expected to fade going forward, a Reuters poll showed, adding to lingering fears of a recession and keeping policymakers under pressure to deploy fresh stimulus.
On Wall Street, the Dow .DJI lost 0.9 per cent and the S&P 500 .SPX shed 0.5 per cent overnight on Wal-Mart's (WMT.N) weak profit forecast and disappointing bank earnings. [.N]
U.S. stock futures ESc1 rose 0.6 per cent in Asian trade on Thursday, suggesting a slightly firmer open later in the day.
U.S. retail sales and producer prices data out on Wednesday were weaker than expected, supporting a building view that the Federal Reserve will delay hiking interest rates until 2016.
"With inflation falling and consumer spending stagnating, it will be very difficult for the Federal Reserve to pull the trigger this year. The economy could regain momentum in November or December but a significant turnaround would be needed to shift market expectations," wrote Kathy Lien, managing director of FX Strategy for BK Asset Management.