Asian stocks rose before a Federal Reserve policy decision as gains in energy and utility shares outweighed a decline in Japanese equities spurred by a stronger yen.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) added 0.1 percent to 134.49 as of 9:09 a.m. in Tokyo after dropping 2 percent the previous two days. Japan’s Topix (TPX) index sank 0.5 percent after the yen surged 1.2 percent versus the dollar yesterday. Russia’s currency plummeted to a record yesterday, defying a surprise interest-rate increase, while crude resumed declines today. The Fed will drop a pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time,” according to economists.
“Focus now switches to the FOMC meeting, which has been pinned as a pivotal one,” Stan Shamu, Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Ltd., wrote in a note. “The challenge will be how to proceed given the backdrop of turmoil in the rest of the world.” South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed.