By Associated Press and Marketwatch
Asian shares mostly fell in muted trading Tuesday as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.47% finished flat. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +1.37% was also unchanged and South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.54% inched down less than 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.10% rose 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.46% fell 0.2%.
Among individual stocks, Hitachi /zigman2/quotes/203839937/delayed JP:6501 +3.73% jumped in Tokyo trading, while Nikon /zigman2/quotes/203281219/delayed JP:7731 +3.87% and Rakuten /zigman2/quotes/201861450/delayed JP:4755 +4.05% slid. In Hong Kong, Sino Biopharmaceutical x /zigman2/quotes/206921981/delayed HK:1177 -7.37% and CSPC Pharmaceutical /zigman2/quotes/200847219/delayed HK:1093 -12.28% surged, as Sunny /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 -3.70% nd CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 -3.82% fell. SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/206420319/delayed KR:000660 +2.70% slipped in Korea, as did Taiwan Semiconductor /zigman2/quotes/207385621/delayed TW:2330 -0.84% in Taiwan. Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT -5.88% tumbled in Australia, while Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO +2.02% and BHP /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP +2.06% gained.
U.S. stock indexes finished modestly higher Monday, extending the market’s solid gains from a rally last week.
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.48% gained 10.46 points, or 0.4%, to 2,832.94. The benchmark index is now up 13% 2019 so far, which is a bigger gain than it’s had in four of the last five full years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +2.21% rose 65.23 points, or 0.3%, to 25,914.10.
The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.77% added 25.95 points, or 0.3%, to 7,714.48.
On market players’ mind is the Federal Reserve meeting later in the week, and speculation it may slow its pace of increases for interest rates. The worry in December was that the central bank would raise rates too fast in the face of a slowing global economy and choke off growth. The Fed will meet to discuss interest-rate policy this week, with an announcement scheduled for Wednesday, but economists expect it to announce no change to rates.
Some economists say the Fed could release documents Wednesday that would suggest one rate increase in 2019, or possibly zero, after the Fed raised rates four times in 2018 and three times in 2017.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 18 cents to $59.27 a barrel. It rose 1 percent to $59.09 a barrel Tuesday. Brent crude gained 34 cents to $67.88 a barrel.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0984% fell to 111.21 yen from 111.56 yen Monday.