TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets were down slightly in subdued trading Tuesday amid anticipation the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates in June.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.5 percent in early trading to 16,566.23 as the yen continued to strengthen, putting a dampener on export issues. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was virtually unchanged, inching down less than 0.1 percent at 5,318.00. South Korea's Kospi edged down 0.4 percent to 1,947.41. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 19,765.32 while the Shanghai Composite index slid 0.5 percent to 2,830.13.
WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 8.01 points, or 0.05 percent, to 17,492.93. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.28 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,048.04, and the Nasdaq composite lost 3.78 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,765.78.
WAITING ON THE FED: Investors are seeking clues on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month. That would depend on the assessment as to the resilience of the U.S. economy, which in effect impacts global growth. Several members of the Federal Reserve will be making speeches this week, which may give insight on what Fed policymakers might do at their meeting in June.
THE QUOTE: "Fed's rhetoric keeps rate hike in summer live," Cynthia Jane Kalasopatan, of Mizuho Bank's Singapore Treasury Division, wrote in an email to subscribers. "The rate hike is viewed as necessary as inflation is expected to rise on wage pressures."
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 15 cents to $47.93 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 23 cents to $48.12 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.25 yen from 109.81 yen and the euro fell to $1.1213 from $1.1239.
AP Business Writer Ken Sweet contributed to this report.
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