SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly lower on Thursday as investors awaited President Donald Trump's announcement on his choice to lead the Federal Reserve, shrugging off the results of a Fed meeting that were in line with their expectations. Some markets were pressured by investors locking in profits from recent gains.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to 22,458.30 while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.3 percent to 2,550.06 as investors took a breather from the latest winning streak. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index sagged 0.1 percent to 28,570.81. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.6 percent to 3,376.27. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 5,939.40. Stocks in Singapore were lower but elsewhere in Southeast Asia, they were higher.
FED WATCH: The Federal Reserve kept its interest rates steady at their low levels as widely expected. It upgraded its outlook for the U.S. economy, saying that the world's largest economy is rising "at a solid rate," a term stronger than "moderate" rate used in September. That reinforced the belief the Fed will hike interest rates in December. President Donald Trump is expected to name a successor to Fed Chair Janet Yellen later Thursday. At a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump indicated it would be a "new head," not Yellen. "I think you'll be extremely impressed by this person," Trump said, according to a White House transcript of the meeting.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Market participants are waiting for the nomination of the next Fed chair to assess future monetary policy shifts," said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore. "Current Fed governor Jerome Power is believed to be the most promising candidate, who will likely bring certainty and consistency to the rate hike path."
WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets finished mixed on Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.2 percent to 2,579.36. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.3 percent to 23,435.01. But the Nasdaq composite fell 0.2 percent to 6,716.53. The small-cap Russell 2000 index lost 0.7 percent to 1,492.78.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 2 cents to $54.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled at $54.30 per barrel on Wednesday, down 8 cents. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 9 cents to $60.58 per barrel in London. It fell 45 cents to $60.49 on Wednesday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.93 yen from 114.17 yen while the euro rose to $1.1651 from $1.1621.