Asian Shares Mixed Ahead Of Fed Decision

Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday after Alphabet and Microsoft reported better than feared quarterly results, helping soothe investor worries over the economic outlook.

Market participants awaited the Fed’s interest rate decision later in the day, with a 75 basis point rate hike mostly priced in.

The FOMC statement and accompanying press conference by Fed Chair Jerome Powell will take center stage as bond markets and most economic indicators signal an increased likelihood of recession.

China’s Shanghai CompositeIindex moved in a narrow range before closing marginally lower for the day. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.1 percent to 20,670.04, with Alibaba and Nio leading losses.

Ahead of an expected rate hike in the United States, the city’s financial secretary said Hong Kong would have no choice but to raise interest rates in the coming months.

Japanese markets rose modestly, helped by gains by heavyweight chip-related stocks. The Nikkei 225 Index inched up 0.2 percent to 27,715.75, while the broader Topix closed 0.1 percent higher at 1,945.75.

Advantest, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron climbed 2-3 percent. Camera maker Canon fell over 1 percent despite raising its full-year operating profit forecast.

Seoul stocks rose for a third straight session, though the upside remained capped ahead of the Fed meeting and the U.S. GDP data release. Meanwhile, a measure of consumer sentiment in the country dropped by 10.4 points to 86 in July, the Bank of Korea said in a statement.

The Kospi edged up 0.1 percent to 2,415.53, led by biotechnology stocks. Samsung Biologics added 1.6 percent and Celltrion gained 1.9 percent.

Australian shares saw modest strength after data showed inflation rose slightly less than forecast in Q2, raising hopes of a less hawkish central bank policy. Official data showed that consumer price inflation jumped 1.8 percent last quarter, just short of market estimates of 1.9 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.2 percent to settle at 6,823.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 0.2 percent higher at 7,038.10.

Banks and gold miners surged, while mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto fell around 2 percent each on lingering worries about a recession.

After market close, Rio Tinto, one of the world’s top iron ore producers, reported a 29 percent drop in first-half profit.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P NZX-50 Index dropped 0.3 percent to 11,135.03.

U.S. stocks fell sharply overnight after downbeat earnings news from Walmart and General Motors.

A measure of consumer confidence dropped to nearly a 1-1/2-year low in July and new home sales tumbled to their lowest level in just over two years in June, raising the odds of a recession.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1.9 percent, the S&P 500 shed 1.2 percent and the Dow slid 0.7 percent.

Source: Read Full Article