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Asia report: Most markets lower ahead of Fed decision

Wed 13 June 2018 13:27 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Most markets in Asia finished Wednesday in the red, as investors turned their attention to the Federal Reserve meeting later in the global day.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.38% to 22,966.38, as the yen weakened 0.13% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 110.51.

Shipping firms and real estate plays were the winners in Tokyo trading, with carmakers also in the green.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.97% to 3,049.80, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite ended the session 1.58% lower at 1,731.43.

South Korea's Kospi was closed for the country's Local Elections Day, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong slid 1.22% to 30,725.15.

Shares in ZTE plunged 41.56% in Hong Kong after returning to trade from a lengthy suspension, imposed in April following a national security-based US ban on it buying American-made parts.

Markets were muted earlier after a landmark meeting on Tuesday between Us president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

The event ended with both leaders signing an agreement, pledging to work towards a lasting "peace regime" on the Korean peninsula, though the statement was seen as vague and lacking in detail.

Trump also told media that the US would be stopping war games with South Korea, to the apparent surprise of both Seoul and the US military.

"Until there is more meaningful progress, which could ultimately lead to potential alleviation of existing sanctions, we expect the Kospi to remain in this range," noted analysts at Morgan Stanley, referring to a figure of between 2,400 and 2,500 points.

They added that their base case Kospi remained at 2,600.

Following that summit, investor attention quickly turned stateside, where the Federal Reserve was due to end its two-day June policy meeting later on Wednesday, with a rate hike widely expected.

Traders were also looking for cues on how many more rises in the central bank's interest rate target can be expected this year.

Oil prices were lower, with Brent crude last down 0.12% at $75.79 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate off 0.56% at $65.99.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.51% at 6,023.50, with the hefty financials subindex sliding 0.63%, offsetting a more-than-8% increase for the utilities sector.

APA Group shares surged 20.92% in Sydney, following an indicative non-binding takeover offer being received from a group led by CK Infrastructure Holdings.

Across the Tasman Sea, the S&P/NZX 50 once again set itself a new record close, adding 0.2% to 8,977.31, led higher by manuka honey products manufacturer Comvita, which was ahead 2.7%.

Both of the down under dollars were stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.16% at AUD 1.3183 and the Kiwi advancing 0.53% to NZD 1.4201.

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