Asian Equities Ease with Eyes on Fed

Asian stocks pulled back from a seven-year peak scaled on Tuesday as sentiment gave way to caution ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy two-day meeting scheduled to start later in the session.  The dollar clawed back some of its losses against the euro which rose overnight on optimism for progress in debt-laden Greece’s ongoing negotiations with creditors.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 0.3 percent after earlier touching its highest level since January 2008.  Japan’s Nikkei stock index advanced 0.3 percent as on hopes of better shareholder returns after index heavyweight Fanuc Corp doubled its dividend payout ratio. [.T]

“Heading into another peak earnings week, investors have focused on companies’ efforts to raise shareholder returns,” said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.  On Monday, Wall Street ended lower after the benchmark S&P 500 index hit a record intraday high before reversing course, tempered by caution ahead the Fed meeting. After markets closed, Apple Inc beat Wall Street’s revenue and profit forecasts.