Asia stocks rise after Fed hints of help for US

Asian stock markets were mostly higher early Thursday as investors weighed the possibility that more help for the U.S. economy from the Federal Reserve might be on the way.

Stocks got a boost from the release of minutes the last major meeting of the Fed, which showed members of its Open Market Committee favoring additional action to help the U.S. economic recovery unless substantial strengthening occurs.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.9 percent to 20,057.10 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.3 percent to 1,941.03. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6 percent to 4,402.50. Japan's Nikkei 225 index was marginally down at 9,127.65.

Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and mainland China also rose.

On Wall Street, stocks climbed back from lows as investors took comfort from the Fed's signals.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2 percent to close at 13,172.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose marginally to 1,413.49. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.2 percent, to 3,073.67.

Benchmark oil for October delivery rose 64 cents to $97.90 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 42 cents to finish Wednesday at $97.26 per barrel.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2551 from $1.2530 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar rose to 78.55 yen from 78.44 yen.