Asia shares mixed as Fed caution offsets Wall St, oil gains

26 Jul,2017

Hong Kong, BdChronicle:

Asian stock markets are mixed Wednesday, with upward momentum from a record day on Wall Street and buoyant oil prices offset by investor caution ahead of the Fed's upcoming interest rate decision.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.5 percent to 20,055.29 but South Korea's Kospi index slipped 0.3 percent to 2,434.11. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped less than 0.1 percent to 26,832.20 and the Shanghai Composite index in mainland China was practically unchanged at 3,243.63. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rallied 1 percent to 5,780.80. Benchmarks in Southeast Asia were higher.

FED IN FOCUS: The U.S. central bank's policymaking committee is holding a two-day meeting. There's not likely to be any market-moving news when it announces its decision, which comes after Asian markets close. Most analysts expect officials to keep rates unchanged. The Fed has already raised rates three times since December and market watchers don't expect another hike until later this year or in 2018.

ANALYST VIEW: "The market expects a near-zero probability of a rate hike this time, but the central bank's policy outlook will be closely watched by market participants nonetheless," said Margaret Yang, analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.

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