Asian share benchmarks were mixed Tuesday as investors awaited a slew of corporate earnings reports. A meeting of the Federal Reserve and caution over potential twists and turns in U.S. politics kept most indexes trading within a narrow range.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.1 percent to 19,964.81 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.1 percent higher to 26,875.11. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1 percent lower to 2,449.96. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.8 percent to 5,735.10 and the Shanghai Composite index was flat at 3,249.73. Shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.
WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 0.1 percent to 2,469.91 after nine of the 11 sectors that make up the index logged losses. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent to 21,513.17. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.4 percent to 6,410.81. The Nasdaq is up 19.1 percent this year, nearly double the rise for broader-market indexes as investors have massed into technology stocks in their search for strong growth as the global economy remains sluggish.
GLOBAL GROWTH: The International Monetary Fund on Monday held its forecast for global economic growth this year steady at 3.5 percent, but that masks some variation. It raised its forecast for economic growth in Europe, Japan and China, but cut its outlook for the United States on the assumption that politicians in Washington won’t be as helpful for growth as earlier expected.
FEDERAL RESERVE: The Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday, following its decision last month to raise short-term interest rates for the third time since December. The central bank also announced plans to start gradually paring its bond holdings later this year, a move that could cause rates to rise. Most investors expect the Fed to hold rates steady at this week’s meeting and possibly raise them one more time this year.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “The high level of trepidation continues to weigh on market sentiments as congressional hearing of White House advisers all but guarantees some headline risk and a possible escalation of the Russia- Gate bluster,” Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary.
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