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Asia stocks trade mixed as Fed meeting looms

Asia stocks trade mixed as Fed meeting looms

Asian shares traded mixed on Monday in morning session ahead of the US Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting later in the week.

Japan's Nikkei took an early 1.17% drop as exporters were hit by recent broad-based gains in the yen. Financials were also under pressure, while technology names traded mixed.

Meanwhile, South Korea's benchmark Kospi index slipped 0.51%. Automakers were sharply lower while steelmakers logged gains. Hyundai Motor fell 3.49% in the early going and Posco rose 2.78%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.1%, while Australia’s main index S&P/ASX 200 got off to a positive start, with the index advancing 0.11%. Energy stocks advanced 1.4%, leading gains in the morning after the rise in oil prices in the last session.

In greater China, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.05%, while on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.03%. Investors are assessing the appointment of economist Yi Gang as the new head of the People's Bank of China. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping was re-elected unanimously to the post over the weekend by the country's legislature.

Companies expected to announce results later in the day include Shenzhen Expressway and Hong Kong-listed China Literature.

Investors will focus on the two-day US Federal Open Market Committee monetary policy meeting later in the week. The central bank is expected to raise interest rates and investors are keen on getting more clarity on the number of rate hikes expected this year.

In commodities, oil prices eased after ending last week with a solid bounce. Brent futures were off 22 cents at $65.99 a barrel, while US crude futures for April, which expire on Tuesday, dipped 22 cents to $62.12 a barrel.

 

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