NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - Asian stocks were set to open higher on Tuesday after Wall Street’s main indexes closed at record highs and investors awaited comments from the U.S. central bank’s meeting later this week.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both surged on gains in travel stocks as mass vaccinations in the United States and congressional approval of a $1.9 trillion aid bill fueled investor optimism.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures added 0.10%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures rose 0.55%.
E-mini futures for the S&P 500 fell 0.16%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.24% in early trading.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.04%.
Investors are focused on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting, which will conclude on Wednesday, as rising bond yields fuel concerns for a pickup in inflation. Fed policymakers are expected to forecast that the U.S. economy will grow in 2021 by the fastest rate in decades.
Minutes from Australia’s central bank’s March monetary policy meeting are due out at midday and are expected to provide commentary on bond yields and an update on it 3-year bond yield target.
The Bank of England also meets this week on Thursday.
“Markets are likely to be in a holding pattern ahead of this ... heavy central bank-laden week,” write analysts at TD Securities.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 174.82 points, or 0.53%, to 32,953.46, the S&P 500 gained 25.6 points, or 0.65%, to 3,968.94 and the Nasdaq Composite added 139.84 points, or 1.05%, to 13,459.71.
Airline shares rose as the companies pointed to concrete signs of an industry recovery as a slowing COVID-19 pandemic helps leisure bookings.
Germany, France and Italy hit pause on AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots after several countries reported possible serious side-effects.
The development will be watched in Australia, where the vaccine is also administered.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was flat on Monday, after touching its highest level since February 2020.
Longer-term U.S. Treasury yields fell Monday as the market looked ahead to the Fed meeting and the latest government debt auctions.
The benchmark 10-year yield, which reached 1.642% last week, ended Monday down 2.8 basis points at 1.6073%.
Rising inflation expectations could prompt the Federal Open Market Committee to signal it will start raising rates sooner than expected.
In currencies trading, the dollar gained as traders cut bearish bets on the greenback to four-month lows.
The dollar index rose 0.154%, with the euro down 0.03% to $1.1924.
The Australian dollar fell 0.08% versus the greenback at $0.775.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April settled at $65.39 a barrel, down 22 cents. Brent crude futures for May settled at $68.88 a barrel, losing 34 cents.
Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; Editing by Cynthia Osterman