By Associated Press and Marketwatch
Asian markets saw a mixed session Wednesday as traders awaited a Federal Reserve policy meeting and U.S.-China talks, with Japan and Hong Kong benchmarks declining.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.65% closed down 0.5%, while South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.57% climbed 1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.55% gained 0.4%, while the Shanghai Composite index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.09% finished off 0.7%. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.15% rose 0.2%. Stocks rose in Southeast Asia and Taiwan .
Among individual stocks, Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 -2.27% , Toyota /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +0.22% and SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 -5.10% all slipped in Tokyo trading. In Seoul, SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/206420319/delayed KR:000660 +3.00% and Posco /zigman2/quotes/201759282/delayed KR:005490 +1.62% jumped. Real estate companies led gains in Hong Kong, with Country Garden /zigman2/quotes/201681083/delayed HK:2007 +4.10% , China Resources Land /zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed HK:1109 +2.45% and China Overseas Land & Investment /zigman2/quotes/205731176/delayed HK:688 +2.76% rising. Mining stocks surged in Australia, with Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -1.63% , Fortescue Mining /zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed AU:FMG -0.12% and BHP /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP -0.48% posting sizeable gains.
U.S. indexes reflected a mixed draw of corporate earnings on Tuesday. 3M /zigman2/quotes/205029460/composite MMM +0.42% , the maker of Post-it notes, industrial coatings and ceramics, posted upbeat fourth quarter results. Harley-Davidson /zigman2/quotes/207565294/composite HOG +2.24% reported a drop in sales. Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -0.86% announced better-than-expected earnings, and its shares surged 5.7% to $163.50 in after-hours trading. The S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.66% retreated 0.1% to 2,640.00 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.98% was up 0.2% at 24,579.96. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.06% shed 0.8% to 7,028.29.
All eyes are on a Federal Open Market Committee meeting ending Wednesday. Although the Fed is expected to leave its short-term interest rate unchanged, the nuances of a press conference by Chairman Jerome Powell will be closely watched.
American and Chinese officials will begin two days of trade talks in Washington. President Donald Trump will reportedly meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in an attempt to move negotiations forward. But the Justice Department’s charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei, its subsidiaries and a top company executive may be a hurdle. China has urged U.S. authorities to end what it called an “unreasonable crackdown” against Huawei, which has been accused of stealing technology and violating sanctions on Iran.
“Asia’s markets are trading quietly sideways this morning, and we would expect that to be the theme of the day as the event-risk needle swings much higher from tonight in North America,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a market commentary.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 53 cents to $53.84 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.32 to settle at $53.31 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude , used to price international oils, picked up 65 cents to $61.85 per barrel. The contract added $1.39 to $61.20 per barrel in London.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.3564% eased to 109.41 yen from 109.35 yen late Tuesday.