Asian markets mostly rose Wednesday as traders awaited a Federal Reserve policy meeting and U.S.-China talks, though Japan’s benchmark declined.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index
retreated 0.3% while South Korea’s Kospi
climbed 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index
gained 0.2%. while the Shanghai Composite index
edged up 0.1%. Australia’s S&P ASX 200
was about flat. Stocks rose in Southeast Asia and Taiwan
Among individual stocks, Sony
all slipped in Tokyo trading. In Seoul, SK Hynix
jumped. Real estate companies led gains in Hong Kong, with Country Garden
, China Resources Land
and China Overseas Land & Investment
rising. Mining stocks surged in Australia, with Rio Tinto
, Fortescue Mining
posting big gains.
U.S. indexes reflected a mixed draw of corporate earnings on Tuesday. 3M
, the maker of Post-it notes, industrial coatings and ceramics, posted upbeat fourth quarter results. Harley-Davidson
reported a drop in sales. Apple
announced better-than-expected earnings, and its shares surged 5.7% to $163.50 in after-hours trading. The S&P 500 index
retreated 0.1% to 2,640.00 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 0.2% at 24,579.96. The Nasdaq composite
shed 0.8% to 7,028.29.
All eyes are on a Federal Open Market Committee meeting ending Wednesday. Although the Fed is expected to leave its short-term interest rate unchanged, the nuances of a press conference by Chairman Jerome Powell will be closely watched.
American and Chinese officials will begin two days of trade talks in Washington. President Donald Trump will reportedly meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in an attempt to move negotiations forward. But the Justice Department’s charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei, its subsidiaries and a top company executive may be a hurdle. China has urged U.S. authorities to end what it called an “unreasonable crackdown” against Huawei, which has been accused of stealing technology and violating sanctions on Iran.
“Asia’s markets are trading quietly sideways this morning, and we would expect that to be the theme of the day as the event-risk needle swings much higher from tonight in North America,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a market commentary.
Benchmark U.S. crude
rose 15 cents to $53.46 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.32 to settle at $53.31 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude
, used to price international oils, picked up 21 cents to $61.41 per barrel. The contract added $1.39 to $61.20 per barrel in London.
eased to 109.34 yen from 109.35 yen late Tuesday.
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