Australia, NZ shares higher after Fed signals gradual policy tightening

The graphics chip maker extended its winning streak to six days early Wednesday after receiving an analyst upgrade

In her testimony, Yellen cited "transitory factors" keeping USA inflation low, but also acknowledged "there could be more going on there".

While Ms Yellen said she meant to serve her first term as chairman, which ends next year, asked if she thought it would be her last appearance before the House financial services committee, she replied: "It may well be". The S&P 500 advanced by 0.7 per cent to 2,442 by lunchtime with the Dow Jones adding 0.6 per cent to 21,524.

The move assuaged concerns among some traders anxious that the Fed has been moving too quickly to raise interest rates despite a slowdown in inflation and the US economy's sluggish growth of just 1.4 percent in the first quarter.

"Provided the economy evolves broadly as anticipated, it will likely begin to implement the program this year", said Yellen in her testimony referring to the balance sheet reduction.

We'll have more when the hearing actually starts, but Yellen's testimony is out and it's as expected.

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The dollar, which fell against the euro soon after the release of Yellen's prepared remarks, reversed course and was trading near session highs against the common currency, as government bond yields in the euro area fell. The Nasdaq posted its high of the day just ahead of Yellen's testimony.

Shares in Japan, Australia and South Korea all advanced on the final day of a week characterized by dovish comments from policy makers in the U.S. that also helped drag the USA dollar lower. The tertiary industry activity dropped 0.1 percent month-on-month in May, reversing a 1.4 percent rise in April. Additionally, strong trade data out of China boosted the Australian dollar against its United States counterpart.

Against a basket of currencies that measures its broader strength, the U.S. dollar fell back to its lowest since last October in Asian trading, undoing all of a recovery last week driven by generally higher global bond yields.

Technology shares also rose sharply, with the tech index also up 1.3%. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.2 percent to 2,419.18. However, it did not commit to a path of interest rate hikes as the bank wants to keep a close-eye on future economic developments.

Gold prices have are down $2 or 0.2% overnight trading at $1,218 an ounce.WTI Crude Oil prices are up 0.7% trading at $46.02 a barrel. Economists polled by Reuters expect the June core CPI figure to have risen 0.2 per cent month-on-month, from a gain of 0.1 per cent the previous month.

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