Asian markets mostly higher as investors await Fed meeting


Asian shares were mostly higher Monday amid a wait-and-see attitude about the direction of interest rates and the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225

NIK, +0.09%

  gained 0.1% in morning trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

XJO, -0.10%

  lost 0.s%, while South Korea’s Kospi

180721, -0.18%

  edged up nearly 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng

HSI, +0.67%

  gained 0.9% as tensions appeared to ease despite another massive protest Sunday, while the Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, -0.05%

  was up 0.2%. Taiwan’s Taiex

Y9999, +0.20%

  edged up, while benchmark indexes in Singapore

STI, -0.07%

  and Indonesia

JAKIDX, -0.20%

  fell slightly.

Read: Hong Kong police try to clear the streets a day after another massive protest

Among individual stocks, Rakuten

4755, +3.59%

 , Sony

6758, +2.15%

  and SoftBank

9984, +2.25%

 advanced in Tokyo trading, while semiconductor-equipment maker Advantest

6857, -3.53%

 sank. In Hong Kong, property companies, such as Wharf Real Estate Investment

1997, +3.56%

  and New World Development

17, +3.13%

 , rose along with Sunny Optical

2382, +0.87%

  and oil producer CNOOC

883, +2.27%

 . Samsung

005930, -0.68%

  inched up in South Korea, while Taiwan Semiconductor

2330, -0.85%

  retreated in Taiwan. Beach Energy

BPT, -1.64%

  and Rio Tinto

RIO, -1.51%

  fell in Australia.

On Wall Street, stocks ended a choppy week of trading with modest losses.

The S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.16%

  fell 4.66 points, or 0.2%, to 2,886.98 Friday and ended the week with a slim gain of 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.07%

  dropped 17.16 points, or 0.1%, to 26,089.61. The Nasdaq composite

COMP, -0.52%

  slid 40.47 points, or 0.5%, to 7,796.66.

Earlier this month, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell set off a market rally after he signaled that the central bank is willing to cut interest rates to help stabilize the economy if the trade war between Washington and Beijing starts to slow economic growth.

The Fed holds its next meeting of policyholders this week, but no action on rates is expected.

Economists expect Fed officials to wait until the second week of July to indicate whether they intend to cut rates, after seeing the next government report on the jobs market and other economic data.

Market watchers are also closely watching the results of the G-20 summit in late June, where President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could meet and try to negotiate a deal on trade.

“Sentiments around the ability to achieve a positive turn in U.S.-China trade negotiations, should the Trump-Xi meeting materialize at the sidelines of the G-20, remain tentative,” says Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

“And the G-20 itself is merely a stage to kick the can down the road and a long, long way off a complete retraction of global trade tensions.”

Benchmark crude oil

CLN19, +0.21%

  added 15 cents to $52.66 a barrel. It rose 0.4% to settle at $52.51 a barrel Friday. Brent crude oil

BRNQ19, +0.32%

 , the international standard, added 29 cents to $62.30 a barrel.

The dollar

USDJPY, +0.04%

  rose to 108.57 Japanese yen from 108.23 yen on Friday.

Source : MTV