Asian markets inch higher as traders await Fed meeting

Asian markets inch higher as traders await Fed meeting

Japan's outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arriv

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Japan’s outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on Wednesday.


AFP via Getty Images

Asian markets rose modestly in early trading Wednesday, as traders awaited news from the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the day.

Japan’s Nikkei 225
NIK,
+0.14%

inched up 0.1%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index
HSI,
-0.25%

was about flat. The Shanghai Composite
SHCOMP,
-0.28%

was little changed, and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite
399106,
-0.93%

fell 0.7%. South Korea’s Kospi
180721,
-0.00%

advanced 0.1%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan
Y9999,
+1.13%
,
Singapore
STI,
+0.49%

and Malaysia
FBMKLCI,
+1.31%

gained, while Indonesian stocks
JAKIDX,
-0.74%

were flat. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
XJO,
+0.90%

rose 1%.

On Tuesday, a World Trade Organization panel found the Trump administration’s tariffs against $200 billion of Chinese goods are illegal, though the organization has little recourse to take against the U.S.

New data Wednesday showed Japan’s exports plunged in 14.8% in August, but that was still better than the previous month and beat analysts’ expectations. Exports to China grew 5.1% while exports to the U.S. sank 21.3%.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet officially resigned Wednesday, clearing the way for Yoshihide Suga to be confirmed as the country’s next prime minister.

“Asian markets already have a quiet look about them, as they remain in wait-and-see mode ahead of the latest FOMC rate decision,” Jeffrey Halley, senior Asia-Pacific market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to signal on Wednesday that its interest-rate policy will remain unchanged and close to zero through the end of 2023. The Fed will release a policy statement at 2 p.m. Eastern, and Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference a half hour later.

Stocks made modest gains Tuesday on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average 
DJIA,
+0.00%

  rose 2.27 points to finish at 27,995.60, while the S&P 500 
SPX,
+0.52%

  gained 17.66 points, or 0.5%, to trade at 3,401.20, marking its third straight increase. The Nasdaq Composite 
COMP,
+1.20%

  finished up 133.67 points, or 1.2%, at 11,190.32, logging back-to-back gains.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude 
CLV20,
+1.77%

  rose 68 cents to $38.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude 
BRNX20,
+1.50%

  , the international standard, gained 65 cents to $41.18 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar 
USDJPY,
-0.14%

 dipped to 105.28 Japanese yen.



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