Asian stocks follow Wall St up on interest rate hopes

Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher on Thursday, as investors anticipated a possible cut in interest rates following a sharp selloff on Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended up 0.3%, while the broader Topix index rose 0.5%. In South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.2%.

The gains came after Wall Street suffered its biggest one-day drop in more than three months on Wednesday, as investors feared that rising inflation could lead to higher interest rates.

The Federal Reserve has signaled that it could be open to lowering rates if the inflationary pressures persist. The possibility of rate cuts has boosted investor sentiment, especially in Asia, where many countries rely heavily on exports.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.8%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.2%. Investors were encouraged by better-than-expected jobs data, which showed the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, a four-month low.

The gains in Asia came despite a drop in oil prices, which fell more than 3% on Thursday as investors worried about the potential impact of a trade dispute between the United States and China.

Overall, Asian investors appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach, with many expecting the Federal Reserve to announce a rate cut in the coming weeks. The possibility of lower interest rates has given investors hope that the global economy could be on the mend.