Asian markets on a high after Fed comments

<p>Janet Yellen told Congress the central bank would be patient about raising interest rates.</p>

Asian stocks traded higher today (February 25th) as investors welcomed comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that the US central bank would be patient about raising interest rates. She said this is because the job market is still healing and inflation is too low, adding that she and her colleagues would provide markets with a clearer signals before they moved.

Sentiment was also boosted by progress in Greece's efforts to secure an extension of its rescue program, as European creditors approved a four-month extension to the nation's financial bailout yesterday. In addition, fresh data revealed better-than-expected Chinese factory activity, with the HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index edging up to 50.1.

"All the stars have been aligned recently, we have had the lower euro, the lower oil and the lower cost of funding," said Didier Duret, chief investment officer at ABN Amro, quoted by Reuters.

"For the rally to continue we now need two things. The recovery has to be driven by hard facts, the consumer and manufacturing. And we need the hope that the Fed won't be too aggressive with hiking rates and yesterday we got that message."

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 per cent to 18,628.98, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.3 per cent to 5,944.70, while South Korea's Kospi added 0.8 per cent to 1,990.92.

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