Asian markets mixed ahead of Fed decision, China meeting

AP News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2016 11:33 PM
Asian markets mixed ahead of Fed decision, China meeting

TOKYO (AP) — Asian markets were mixed Wednesday as investors watched for news from a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting and from China's annual legislative session.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4 percent in morning trading to 17,051.37. South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 1,973.00. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2 percent to 20,256.39, while the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.2 percent to 2,870.55. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.1 percent to 5,166.20. Shares were higher in Singapore and Taiwan, but lower in Indonesia.

THE FED: Investors around the world are waiting for the U.S. Federal Reserve's Open Markets Committee remarks on interest rates and the economy on Wednesday. The Consumer Price Index report is also due to be released.

THE QUOTE: "The big question rattling around markets is when will the Fed act again?" said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA Asia Pacific. "This concern has traders in 'cautious mode' across Asia today as the FOMC meeting looms large on their radar screens."

CHINA FACTOR: Markets are also watching for news from the annual session of China's National People's Congress. Concerns have been growing lately that the economy is losing momentum and can no longer serve as such a strong driver of regional growth.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average added 22.40 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,251.53. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 3.71 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,015.93. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 21.61 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,728.67.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 58 cents to $36.92 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 84 cents to $36.34 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the benchmark used to price international oils, gained 37 cents at $39.11 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro was little changed at $1.1101 from $1.1100. The dollar recovered to 113.37 yen from 113.16 yen.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay contributed to this report.