By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets were flat in early trading Wednesday, as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s expected interest-rate cut later in the day.
The Fed is widely expected to announce a quarter-percentage-point cut to its benchmark interest rate after it ends its two-day meeting. The rate cut would be the second one this summer, and investors will be closely watching for signals of future cuts.
Meanwhile, Japan’s August exports contracted at a faster pace than expected, likely putting pressure on the Bank of Japan to further ease its monetary policy.
South Korea also followed through with plans to drop Japan from a list of countries receiving fast-track approvals in trade, a reaction to a similar move by Tokyo to downgrade Seoul’s trade status amid a tense diplomatic dispute.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump suggested a trade deal with China could happen “maybe soon,” but added that it could also come after the 2020 election.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.15% was about flat, as was Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.81% . The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.15% swung between slight gains and losses, as did the Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +1.43% . South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.11% rose 0.5% while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +1.63% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.34% , Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI +0.69% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.35% largely posted slight gains. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.54% was down fractionally.
Among individual stocks, Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 +2.63% gained in Tokyo trading while Honda /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +2.27% and oil producer Inpex /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 +3.26% fell. In Hong Kong, /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.14% omponent maker AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -0.76% surged, while CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 -0.66% and food processor WH Group /zigman2/quotes/204247792/delayed HK:288 +4.32% declined. Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +1.73% rose in South Korea and SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 +0.15% advanced in South Korea and Largan Precision /zigman2/quotes/210444196/delayed TW:3008 0.00% gained in Taiwan. Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT +1.69% gained in Australia, as did clothing retailer Kathmandu /zigman2/quotes/209380167/delayed AU:KMD +1.77% after it posted record fiscal-year profits .