Asian markets muted, awaiting upcoming Fed meeting

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Asian shares mostly fell in muted trading Tuesday as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225














NIK, -0.08%












  lost 0.3% in early trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200














XJO, -0.04%












  edged down 0.1% and South Korea’s Kospi














SEU, -0.16%












  inched down less than 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng














HSI, -0.23%












  was about flat, while the Shanghai Composite














SHCOMP, -0.21%












  fell 0.3%.

Among individual stocks, Hitachi














6501, +4.52%












  jumped in Tokyo trading, while Nikon














7731, -2.34%












  and Rakuten














4755, -2.32%












  slid. In Hong Kong, Sino Biopharmaceutical x














2922, +5.41%












  and CSPC Pharmaceutical














1093, +2.87%












  surged, as Sunny














2382, -2.54%












 nd CNOOC














0883, -1.57%












  fell. SK Hynix














000660, -1.03%












  slipped in Korea, as did Taiwan Semiconductor














2330, -0.62%












  in Taiwan. Beach Energy














BPT, -2.78%












 tumbled in Australia, while Rio Tinto














RIO, +1.74%












  and BHP














BHP, +1.68%












  gained.

U.S. stock indexes finished modestly higher Monday, extending the market’s solid gains from a rally last week.

The S&P 500














SPX, +0.37%












  gained 10.46 points, or 0.4%, to 2,832.94. The benchmark index is now up 13% 2019 so far, which is a bigger gain than it’s had in four of the last five full years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average














DJIA, +0.25%












  rose 65.23 points, or 0.3%, to 25,914.10.

The Nasdaq composite














COMP, +0.34%












  added 25.95 points, or 0.3%, to 7,714.48.

On market players’ mind is the Federal Reserve meeting later in the week, and speculation it may slow its pace of increases for interest rates. The worry in December was that the central bank would raise rates too fast in the face of a slowing global economy and choke off growth. The Fed will meet to discuss interest-rate policy this week, with an announcement scheduled for Wednesday, but economists expect it to announce no change to rates.

Some economists say the Fed could release documents Wednesday that would suggest one rate increase in 2019, or possibly zero, after the Fed raised rates four times in 2018 and three times in 2017.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil














CLJ9, -0.05%












  slipped 3 cents to $59.06 a barrel. It rose 1 percent to $59.09 a barrel Tuesday. Brent crude














LCOK9, +0.12%












  gained 1 cent to $67.55 a barrel.

The dollar














USDJPY, -0.14%












  fell to 111.21 yen from 111.56 yen Monday.

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Source : MTV