Home Business Asian stocks mixed as investors await Federal Reserve meeting – CNBC

Asian stocks mixed as investors await Federal Reserve meeting – CNBC

16 min read
Asian stocks

Shares in Asia were mixed in Monday afternoon trade as investors awaited developments on the U.S.-China trade front. The U.S. Federal Reserve was also set to begin its March policy meeting later in the week.

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Mainland Chinese shares recovered from their earlier slip to rise by the end of the morning, as the Shanghai composite jumped more than 1.2 percent and the Shenzhen component gained 1.659 percent. The Shenzhen composite also added 1.329 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose around 0.7 percent. Shares of rail operator MTR declined more than 0.7 percent after a train collision disrupted services in the city.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.6 percent as shares of index heavyweights Fast Retailing, Softbank Group and Fanuc all advanced. The Topix index also added 0.55 percent.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.1 percent as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics declined more than 1 percent. The ASX 200 in Australia was fractionally lower.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is set to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday stateside, where it is expected to hold interest rates steady, while also issuing a new forecast with fewer rate hikes and a slower economy. The Fed also is likely to announce the end of its operation to unwind its balance sheet.

“I think most people are expecting them to downgrade their … GDP and macro forecasts. That’ll feed through to (a) lowering of their interest rate projections,” Peter Dragicevich, financial market strategist at Suncorp, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Monday.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke via telephone with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, following a report by Xinhua news agency last Friday.

The report, according to the South China Morning Post, said: “The two sides have further made concrete progress on the text of the trade agreement between the two sides.”

The news comes after CNBC reported Thursday that Chinese negotiators suggest combining a state visit to the U.S. with the signing of a trade deal. Beijing wants a deal to be fully ironed out before Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“While there is presumably a strong US political imperative to get a deal done ahead of next year’s elections, and presumably China is keen to bed down this issue, and while we expect a deal to be proclaimed, we can only believe it once it’s seen,” David de Garis, a director and senior economist at National Australia Bank, said in a morning note.

Russia plans to be fully compliant with OPEC-led supply cuts over the next few weeks, according to the country’s energy minister, Alexander Novak.

His comments came three months into a fresh round of production cuts from the so-called OPEC+ alliance. The producers meet in mid-April to review their oil supply cut agreement, which is scheduled to last through the first half of 2019.

Oil prices slipped in the morning of Asian trading hours but were still above lows touched a week ago. The international benchmark Brent crude futures contract declined 0.24 percent to $67.00 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures fell 0.39 percent to $58.29 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.486 after slipping from highs above 97.2 in the previous week.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.55 against the dollar after seeing highs below 111.0 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7111 after touching lows below $0.704 in the previous trading week.

— CNBC’s Patti Domm, Fred Imbert and Sam Meredith contributed to this report.

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