BANGKOK -- Expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to phase out its monetary stimulus had a mostly negative impact on Asian stock markets today.
A fall in weekly U.S. jobless claims to a near six-year low Thursday reinforced views that the economy is strong enough to withstand having less extraordinary support from the Fed. The Labor Department reported that weekly claims slid 15,000 last week to 320,000, the lowest level since October 2007.
Analysts said the sharp fall makes it more likely that the Fed will scale back its $85 billion-a-month purchases of government bonds in September. The purchases have helped lower interest rates to spur borrowing and economic growth after the global financial crisis of 2008 sparked a recession.
Benchmark crude oil rose slightly to remain above $107. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.