Asia-Pacific stocks set for mixed start; Fed keeps rates steady

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific looked set for a mixed start on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate near zero.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 27,785 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 27,760. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 27,581.66.

Meanwhile, Australian stocks looked poised to slip at the open. The SPI futures contract was at 7,301.0, against the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 7,379.30.

Investors will watch shares of Softbank Group in Japan on Thursday. The Japanese conglomerate is selling about one-third of its stake in ride-hailing company Uber to cover losses on its investment in Chinese ride-hailing company Didi, two people familiar with the matter told CNBC.

Hong Kong’s markets will also be monitored by investors for signs of a further rebound from the more than 8% rout it experienced over two days early this week.

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Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 127.59 points to 34,930.93 while the S&P 500 was little changed at 4,400.64. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.7% to 14,762.58.

The Federal Open Committee ended its two-day meeting by keeping interest rates in a target range between zero and 0.25%.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank is nowhere near considering a rate hike despite the optimism over the U.S. economy.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.322 after a recent drop from around 92.7.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.85 per dollar, weaker than levels below 109.8 seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7378, above levels below $0.736 seen earlier this week.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.


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