Asian Shares Mixed Ahead Of Fed Meeting

Asian stocks struggled for direction before ending mixed on Tuesday as investors braced for a busy week of earnings and economic data in the United States.

Fears about economic growth continued to weigh after top U.S. retailer Walmart struck a downbeat tone on the health of the U.S. consumer. Tech heavyweights Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Amazon are due to report their financial results this week.

The dollar held just below multi-decade highs, while oil prices rose nearly 2 percent in Asian trading, adding to overnight gains on expectations that Russia’s reduction in natural gas supply to Europe could encourage a switch to crude.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday, with investors looking for clues about the future pace or rate hikes.

The second quarter GDP figure for the U.S. is scheduled to be released on Thursday, and a negative print would mean that the world’s largest economy is in a technical recession.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 percent to 3,277.44 after reports that government authorities plan to establish a bailout fund for certain property developers.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rallied 1.7 percent to 20,905.88. Alibaba Group shares surged 4.8 percent after the world’s biggest e-commerce company said it would apply to elevate the status of its Hong Kong-traded shares to make them more accessible to mainland Chinese buyers.

Japanese shares ended lower as the minutes of Bank of Japan’s June meeting cited the need to watch the impact of financial and forex market moves on the economy and prices.

The Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 27,655.21, while the broader Topix closed marginally lower at 1,943.17. Shipping and pharma stocks led losses, while heavyweight SoftBank Group jumped 3.2 percent.

Seoul stocks rose modestly to extend gains for a second straight session after data showed GDP growth unexpectedly picked up in the second quarter. The Kospi edged up 0.4 percent to settle at 2,412.96.

Australian markets ended slightly higher ahead of inflation data due on Wednesday. The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent to 6,807.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.3 percent higher at 7,025.20.

Mining and energy stocks topped the gainers list on the back of higher iron ore and crude prices.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P NZX-50 Index dropped 0.3 percent to 11,166.56.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as investors looked ahead to a busy week of earnings. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.4 percent, while the Dow edged up 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 inched up 0.1 percent.

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