Asia stocks mostly gained Monday after comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen at the weekend that signalled growth prospects and a more nuanced view on the timing of a possible hike in interest rates.
The Nikkei 225 rose 0.3% as the market digested weekend comments from the Federal Reserve chief suggesting an interest rate hike may happen sooner than expected, but analysts said she left lot's of wiggle room.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was unchanged to higher after closing Friday at a six-year high. Investors are watching whether another drop in iron-ore prices will weigh on resources stocks.
South Korea's KOSPI was flat to higher in early trade.
Trading on Chicago-based futures exchange, CME Group Inc., (NASDAQ:CME) Globex platform was halted in the U.S. Sunday, due to an unspecified technical problem.
Last week, U.S. stocks finished Friday mixed after four straight days of gains, as escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia offset an upbeat take on the U.S. economy from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
The Dow 30 fell 0.22%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.20%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.14%.
The overall economy and the labor market are improving though the Fed will still take its time raising interest rates, markets concluded Friday after Yellen addressed the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's annual Jackson Hole symposium.
"More jobs have now been created in the recovery than were lost in the downturn, with payroll employment in May of this year finally exceeding the previous peak in January 2008. Job gains in 2014 have averaged 230,000 a month, up from the 190,000 a month pace during the preceding two years," Yellen said in prepared remarks of her speech.
"The unemployment rate, at 6.2 percent in July, has declined nearly 4 percentage points from its late 2009 peak. Over the past year, the unemployment rate has fallen considerably, and at a surprisingly rapid pace."
Yellen's comments drew applause on Wall Street, as her speech also suggested that the Fed will still take its time raising interest rates to avoid disrupting recovery.
Geopolitical concerns however sparked profit taking, especially considering U.S. equities indices have posted solid gains over the past four days.
Ukraine declared on Friday that Russia had launched a "direct invasion" of its territory after Moscow sent a convoy of aid trucks across the border into eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to key U.S. data for further indications on the strength of the economy and the possible future path of monetary policy.
The U.S. will produce data on second quarter gross domestic product, as well as reports on new home sales, durable goods orders and initial jobless claims.
On Monday, Germany is to publish the Ifo report on business climate for August.
Markets in the U.K. are to remain closed in observance of the Summer Bank Holiday.
The U.S. is to produce data on new home sales for the month of July.