Saturday July 4th, 2020 5:46AM

Asian shares fall as Fed minutes show data may tweak stance

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were mostly lower on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve released minutes of its meeting in March. While most officials believed the central bank would leave interest rates unchanged for the rest of the year, several said their views could shift with incoming data.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave up 0.6% to 29,929.66 and the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.8% to 3,215.79.The Kospi in South Korea was flat at 2,224.44. Australia's S&P ASX 200 slid 0.4% to 6,198.70.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 bucked the regional trend, adding 0.1% to 21,711.38. Shares fell in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia but rose in Singapore.

The Federal Open Market Committee released minutes from a meeting in March on Wednesday. There were no major surprises. It showed that most officials believed that the central bank would leave its key policy rate unchanged for the rest of the year.

This was in line with the outcome of the March 19-20 meeting, where the Fed trimmed its 2019 rate hikes outlook from two to none.

In the minutes, several Fed officials also said that they may feel differently, depending on the data that surfaces.

Weaker growth and lower inflation expectations could prompt the Fed to cut rates, while stronger growth and rising inflation expectations could warrant a rate hike.

An indication of flexibility caused Asian markets to open in a "slightly soft mood," said Selena Ling, chief economist at OCBC Bank.

"The FOMC minutes suggested that rates could head in either direction from here, but members generally favor being patient for the remainder of the year," she added in an interview.

China reported inflation figures in March on Thursday that met market expectations. The country's producer price index rose 0.4% in March from a year ago, according to National Bureau of Statistics. This was up from February's 0.1% increase. Its consumer price index picked up 2.3% in March from a year earlier, as compared to a 1.5% gain in the previous month.

Over on Wall Street, strong gains by technology companies and small-company stocks lifted indexes, while utilities lagged. The broad S&P 500 index climbed 0.3% to 2,888.21. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was less than 0.1% higher at 26,157.16 and the Nasdaq composite jumped 0.7% to 7,964.24. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rebounded 1.4% to 1,581.55.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 32 cents to $64.29 per barrel. It added 63 cents to settle at $64.61 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude shed 28 cents to $71.45 per barrel. The contract gained $1.12 to $71.73 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 111.11 yen from 111 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1276 from $1.1273.

___

AP Business Writers Alex Veiga and Damian J. Troise contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Financial Services
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Wife of Nissan ex-exec Ghosn to be questioned in Tokyo court
The wife of Nissan's former Chairman Carlos Ghosn will be questioned Thursday by Japanese prosecutors in a Tokyo court, person familiar with situation tells AP
11:43PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Asian shares fall as Fed minutes show data may tweak stance
Asian shares retreat as some Fed officials suggest data may tweak stance
11:40PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Polls open in 1st phase of India's lengthy general election
Polls have opened in the first phase of India's general elections in which 900 million people are eligible to vote in the world's largest democratic exercise
11:29PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Australian election May 18 to be fought on refugees, economy
Australia's prime minister calls a May 18 election that will be fought on issues including climate change, asylum seekers and economic management
10:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trick or treat? EU, UK agree to delay Brexit until Halloween
European Union leaders, Britain agree to a Brexit extension that will allow the U.K. to delay its EU departure date until Halloween
10:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
Police: Coffee shop owner killed, 17 hurt in gas explosion
Police in North Carolina have identified the person killed in a blast that leveled a building
10:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Castro warns Cubans to brace for shortages
Communist Party leader Raúl Castro is warning Cubans to brace for shortages and other economic problems due to Trump administration policies, but says the island won't repeat the extreme deprivation of the post-Soviet period
7:41PM ( 4 hours ago )
Pence says US wants Maduro out and 'all options' on table
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the Security Council the Trump administration is determined to remove President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably through diplomatic and economic pressure, but "all options are on the table"
7:21PM ( 4 hours ago )
Australian prime minister expected to call May 18 election
Australia's prime minister has visited the nation's governor-general to call an election expected to be held on May 18.
6:27PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Western banks help Saudis raise $12 billion in bonds
Saud Arabia's oil company has raised $12 billion in a bond issue that shows Western investors are keen to do business with the kingdom despite the scandal over the killing of a dissident journalist.
12:53PM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Bank hearing strays from theme of bank stability
Wednesday's House hearing on banks was nominally about determining how much safer the financial system is, but few finance committee members are raising the subject
10:33AM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: CEOs say big banks more stable since crisis
The heads of some of the largest banks in the U.S. are appearing in front of Congress Wednesday, for the most significant hearing on the banking industry since Democrats took control of the House
9:55AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Business - Financial Markets
Trump signs orders making it harder to block pipelines
President Donald Trump's support for shifting more power to fades next to his affinity for oil and gas production
7:22PM ( 4 hours ago )
Officials: 1 dead, 17 hurt in North Carolina gas explosion
An emergency official says six of the people injured in a deadly explosion in downtown Durham North Carolina, were critically hurt and one of them has been transferred to the burn unit
6:48PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump signs orders on energy projects
President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders that he says will accelerate the approval of energy infrastructure projects in the United States
5:48PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Sanders' adds long-term care to his 'Medicare for All' plan
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders reveals a new version of his "Medicare for All" plan, shaking up the 2020 presidential campaign by reopening the debate over his call to eliminate private health insurance
1:25PM ( 10 hours ago )
Trump: It's up to Cain to move ahead with Fed nomination
Trump: It's up to Cain to move forward with Fed board nomination
12:23PM ( 11 hours ago )
Bernie Sanders unveils his new 'Medicare for All' plan
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders reveals a new version of his "Medicare for All" plan, shaking up the 2020 presidential campaign by reopening the debate over his call to eliminate private health insurance
12:21PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Business - Financial Services
Wife of Nissan ex-exec Ghosn to be questioned in Tokyo court
The wife of Nissan's former Chairman Carlos Ghosn will be questioned Thursday by Japanese prosecutors in a Tokyo court, person familiar with situation tells AP
11:43PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Polls open in 1st phase of India's lengthy general election
Polls have opened in the first phase of India's general elections in which 900 million people are eligible to vote in the world's largest democratic exercise
11:29PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Inslee: Forget impeaching Trump. A 2020 defeat is better.
Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee says his party should scrap any thoughts of impeaching President Donald Trump and instead focus on voting him out of office in 2020
11:19PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Blue Jackets rally from 3-goal deficit to beat Lightning 4-3
Seth Jones scored the go-ahead goal on the power play to cap Columbus' three-goal third period, and the Blue Jackets rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in Game 1 of the teams' first-round Eastern Conference playoff series
11:12PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Bailey lifts Islanders past Penguins 4-3 in OT in Game 1
Josh Bailey scored on a rebound at 4:39 of overtime and the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 Wednesday night in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series
11:05PM ( 44 minutes ago )