Asian shares drop as eyes turn to central bank meetings
TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks mostly fell Wednesday after a muted market response to the Trump-Kim summit. Investors have now turned their eyes to the trio of this week’s central bank meetings.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.3 percent in early trading at 22,934.58. South Korea’s Kospi was down by less than 0.1 percent at 2,468.83. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent to 30,913.91, and the Shanghai Composite index also lost 0.6 percent to 3,062.12. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also dropped 0.5 percent to 6,024.10.
WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4.85 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,786.85, closing at its highest level since February 1. The Nasdaq composite added 43.87 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,703.79 and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.58 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 25,320.73. The Russell 2000, an index that makes up mostly small companies, rose 7.62 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,682.30.
TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT: Trump and Kim concluded their summit Tuesday by committing to working “toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and to “build a lasting and stable peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula. Trump surprised both the Pentagon and the South Korean military by promising to end U.S. military exercises with South Korea. Details were left vague, but progress there has the chance of lowering geopolitical tensions in a region that includes three of the world’s largest economies: Japan, China and South Korea.
CENTRAL BANKS: The Federal Reserve resumes a two-day meeting on interest rates later Wednesday. Investors expect the central bank to raise its benchmark rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1.75-2 percent. However investors’ attention will focus more on how many additional rate hikes Fed officials may do this year. On Thursday, the European Central Bank will meet and could outline an end to its stimulus program, while on Friday the Bank of Japan is due to give its latest policy update.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “Fed are the ones that could surprise on the hawkish side which should support a stronger US dollar vs EUR, AUD and JPY.” said Stephen Innes, analyst at Oanda.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 41 cents to $65.95 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 23 cents to $75.65 per barrel in London.
CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 110.54 yen from 110.30 late Tuesday in Asia. The euro fell slightly to $1.17 from $17.99.
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