Equity indexes mixed in Asia

3 May, 2018

Markets in Asian traded mixed on Thursday as investors digested a widely anticipated interest rate decision by the US Federal Reserve while looking ahead to US-China trade talks.

Australia’s  S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.80 percent higher at 6,098.30 points, with most subindexes trading in green territory. Consumer staples and materials led gains in today’s session.

In South Korea, the Kospi benchmark eased 0.73 percent, with banking and manufacturing sectors pushing lower, while loses were balanced by rising automakers and tech stocks.

In China, the Shanghai composite rose 0.65 percent to 3,101.13 points and the Shenzhen composite followed with a 0.93 percent gain to close at 10,438.58. Financials and technology components weighed on both. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.40 percent by the time of this writing.

Japanese markets were closed in observance of the Constitution Day holiday.

Fed Keeps Rates Steady, Acknowledges Inflation Close To Target

The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its benchmark rate steady in a range between 1.50 percent and 1.75 percent, although it reassured its commitment with monetary normalization.

In its monetary policy statement, the US regulator said "overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have moved close to 2 percent."

On the data front, ADP nonfarm employment change for April came in at 204,000 jobs, surpassing a forecasted 200,000 reading.

Ahead in the US session, initial jobless claims, trade balance for March, nonfarm productivity and unit labor costs for the first quarter are all scheduled for release at 12:30 GMT.

The services and composite PMI will be published at 13:45 GMT. A few minutes later, durable goods orders, factory orders and the ISM non-manufacturing PMI await in the cue.

Also in focus is a two-day meeting between Chinese and US trade representatives in Beijing, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

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