Asian stocks rose, after a rebound in U.S. equities, as weak economic data eased speculation the Federal Reserve will bring forward plans to raise interest rates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4 percent to 144.40 as of 9:02 a.m. in Tokyo. Factory production in the U.S. declined in February for a third straight month, data showed Monday, while confidence among U.S. homebuilders unexpectedly retreated this month to an eight-month low. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 1.4 percent, the most in almost six weeks. The Fed starts a two-day meeting today, with investors watching whether the central bank removes a reference to being “patient” on rate increases from its statement.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last month the Fed’s pledge to be “patient” on starting to raise borrowing costs means an increase is unlikely for “at least the next couple” of meetings. Futures trading shows a 50 percent chance the Fed will boost its key borrowing costs to at least 0.5 percent by September, compared with 59 percent on March 6.

Source : Bloomberg