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Asia report: Most markets rise as investor attention turns to Fed

By Josh White

Date: Tuesday 18 Jun 2019

Asia report: Most markets rise as investor attention turns to Fed

(Sharecast News) - Most markets in Asia were higher on Tuesday, as investors in the region turned their attention across the Pacific to the US Federal Reserve meeting, set to begin later in the global day.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.72% at 20,972.71, as the yen strengthened 0.21% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 108.31.

Of the major components on the country's benchmark index, automation specialist Fanuc was down 0.88%, fashion firm Fast Retailing lost 0.92%, and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group plunged 3.31%.

The broader Topix index was also in the red, falling 0.72% to close at 1,528.67 in Tokyo.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite added 0.09% to close at 2,890.16, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite advanced 0.16% to 1,504.57.

South Korea's Kospi was 0.38% firmer at 2,098.71, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong rose 1% to settle at 27,498.77.

The blue-chip technology stocks were mixed once gain on the Korean peninsula, with chipmaker SK Hynix falling 0.47%, while Samsung Electronics added 1.03%.

Biopharmaceutical company Celltrion was also one of the big winners in Seoul rising 1.46% by the close of trading.

Attention turned to the United States on Tuesday, with the Federal Open Market Committee set to kick off its closely-watched meeting later on Tuesday,

There was little expectation among market watchers that the central bank would make any policy changes, but many were keen to pick out any clues in the Fed's rhetoric about the prospect of interest rate cuts this year.

Investors in Asia would also be aware of the prospect that some of the region's own policymakers could be influenced in their direction by the Fed, with central banks in Indonesia and Japan set to hold their own meetings later in the week.

The Fed will make its policy announcement after its two-day meeting late on Wednesday.

"The Fed will give its policy verdict on Wednesday and is expected to maintain its policy unchanged," said London Capital Group senior market analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya.

"However, markets are obsessed with the Fed's next move, since the Fed Governor Jerome Powell said that they are ready to cut the interest rates, if needed.

"The Fed expectations sharply moved from 'patient' to two-to-three rate cuts within the next 12 months."

Oil prices were lower as the region went to bed, with Brent crude last down 0.91% at $60.39 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate falling 0.78% to $51.53.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 managed gains of 0.6%, finishing up the day at 6,570.00.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was ahead 0.2% at 10,191.33, led higher by cinema analytics software firm Vista, which rose 4.6% to reach a record closing price.

The down under dollars were a mixed bag against the greenback, with the Aussie last 0.12% weaker at AUD 1.4610, while the Kiwi strengthened 0.27% to NZD 1.5356.

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