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 -0.59% was about flat, as was Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.75% . The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.09% swung between slight gains and losses, as did the Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -1.10% . South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.78% rose 0.5% while benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.15% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.18% , Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI +0.03% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.07% largely posted slight gains. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.74% was down fractionally.
Among individual stocks, Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 +0.49% gained in Tokyo trading while Honda /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 -0.83% and oil producer Inpex /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 -1.80% fell. In Hong Kong, /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -0.54% omponent maker AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -2.13% surged, while CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 +1.24% and food processor WH Group /zigman2/quotes/204247792/delayed HK:288 +0.96% declined. Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -1.48% rose in South Korea and SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 -1.55% advanced in South Korea and Largan Precision /zigman2/quotes/210444196/delayed TW:3008 -0.48% gained in Taiwan. Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT -2.22% gained in Australia, as did clothing retailer Kathmandu /zigman2/quotes/209380167/delayed AU:KMD -1.25% after it posted record fiscal-year profits .