Asia-Pacific stocks fall ahead of Fed decision


Stock markets in Asia-Pacific dipped on Wednesday following a slight fall on Wall Street as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision later in the session.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.5 per cent as pharmaceutical and technology stocks fell, while in China, the CSI 300 was down 0.6 per cent. The Topix in Japan edged up 0.1 per cent, holding at an 11-month high, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.8 per cent as the basic materials sector dropped 1.1 per cent.

Those moves followed on from a pause overnight in the US where the S&P 500 edged back from a record high, closing 0.1 per cent higher ahead of Wednesday’s Fed decision.

The Fed is expected to make a third consecutive cut to its main interest rate on Wednesday with 95 per cent of economists polled by Bloomber forecasting a 25 basis point cut. Attention will be trained on the Federal Open Market Committee’s statement for indicators of future rate cuts.

The dollar index, a measure of the green back against a basket of peers, was little moved, while the yield on the 10-year US Treasury nudged 1 basis point lower to 1.826.

Sterling was steady against the dollar after MPs voted on Tuesday to set a general election for December 12, handing the Brexit back to the people. The currency is on track for its best monthly performance in six years after strengthening 5.9 per cent against the dollar in October.

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