Asian share benchmarks sagged Tuesday as investors awaited a slew of corporate earnings reports. A meeting of the Federal Reserve and caution over potential twists and turns in U.S. politics kept most indexes trading within a narrow range.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.1 percent to 19,955.20 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1 percent to 26,825.91. South Korea’s Kospi sank 0.5 percent 2,438.50. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.7 percent to 5,726.60 and the Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.3 percent to 3,420.25. India’s Sensex lost 0.1 percent to Shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.
WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 0.1 percent to 2,469.91 after nine of the 11 sectors that make up the index logged losses. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent to 21,513.17. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.4 percent to 6,410.81. The Nasdaq is up 19.1 percent this year, nearly double the rise for broader-market indexes as investors have massed into technology stocks in their search for strong growth as the global economy remains sluggish.
SOUTH KOREA: The government announced a new economic plan promising to boost incomes and improve the country’s sagging social safety net. But despite an upgrade in the growth forecast for Asia’s fourth largest economy, to 3 percent from 2.6 percent, shares fell as investors cashed in profits after a long spate of record-high closes driven by optimistic expectations for corporate earnings.
FEDERAL RESERVE: The Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday, following its decision last month to raise short-term interest rates for the third time since December. The central bank also announced plans to start gradually paring its bond holdings later this year, a move that could cause rates to rise. Most investors expect the Fed to hold rates steady at this week’s meeting and possibly raise them one more time this year.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “The high level of trepidation continues to weigh on market sentiments as a congressional hearing of White House advisers all but guarantees some headline risk and a possible escalation of the Russia- Gate bluster,” Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $46.59 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 57 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $46.34 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, rose 20 cents to $49.02 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.1666 from $1.1644. The dollar slipped to 110.93 Japanese yen from 111.10 yen and the British pound climbed to $1.3032 from $1.3007.