Asian shares mostly lower as attention turns to Fed meeting

Asian shares mostly lower as attention turns to Fed meeting

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TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares mostly slid Monday, with Chinese benchmarks countering the trend, as market attention turns to the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week. Japanese shares languished as the yen strengthened against the dollar.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.9 percent in morning trading to 19,927.65. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.8 percent to 5,680.00. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.2 percent to 2,445.91. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 26,851.37 and the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.2 percent to 3,245.04. Shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.

FED FACTOR: The monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve wraps up two days of meetings Wednesday. At June's meeting, Fed officials raised the central bank's key interest rate for the third time in six months. The Fed also announced plans to start gradually paring its bond holdings later this year, a move that could cause long-term rates to rise. Over the last few weeks investors have focused what the European Central Bank will do as the European economy continues to improve.

U.S. POLITICS: A flurry of tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump, complaining that Republicans were failing to fully support him as they struggle to deliver on health care legislation, underscored the disarray in Washington amid investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible connections to Trump's campaign.

THE QUOTE: "Investors continued to take into account Trump's political setbacks including expanded investigation into his transactions regarding his Russian connections and limited progress in the health care bill. Resignation of White House Press Secretary Spicer over the weekend might further fuel USD weakness," says Zhu Huani, Singapore Treasury Division of Mizuho Bank, of the U.S. political uncertainties.

JAPAN MANUFACTURING: A preliminary survey of factory purchasing managers showed output slowing as export orders fell to an 11-month low of 50 — the cut-off between contraction and expansion on a scale of 100. Output dropped for the second straight month.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped less than 1 point to 2,472.54. The Dow Jones industrial average also dipped 0.1 percent to 21,580.07. The Nasdaq composite was almost unchanged at 6,387.75. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 6.52 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,435.84. Still, all four indexes remain near record highs.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 7 cents to $45.84 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It sank $1.15 to $45.77 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, climbed 12 cents to $48.43 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $ 1.1672 from $1.1639. The dollar slid to 110.94 yen from 111.55 yen late Friday in Asia.


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