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Asian stocks mixed after Fed holds rate

Published: May 02, 2019 11:07:14 | Updated: May 04, 2019 12:43:25


File photo (Collected)

Asian shares were mixed on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate intact and steered clear of suggesting that a cut was possible this year.

Trading was light with markets in Japan and mainland China closed.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4 per cent to 29,829.76 while Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.6 per cent to 6,340.20. The Kospi in South Korea was 0.3 per cent higher at 2,209.33.

Stocks rose in Taiwan but fell in Singapore and Indonesia, reports AP.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate—which determines the cost of borrowing for individuals and businesses—in a range of 2.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent as expected.

Still, some traders had hoped the Fed would signal a rate cut to lift persistently low inflation to its 2.0 per cent target rate. The Fed's preferred 12-month inflation barometer is running at about 1.5 per cent.

Chairman Jerome Powell steered clear of this at a news conference. "The committee is comfortable with our current policy stance," he said.

Powell added that current inflation readings may be transitory and not fully indicative of real-world price increases.

Specialist John Alatzas, left, and trader Michael Milano work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street after several big US companies reported earnings that were better than analysts were expecting.

Specialist John Alatzas, left, and trader Michael Milano work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street after several big US companies reported earnings that were better than analysts were expecting.

Over on Wall Street, stocks closed lower after climbing earlier in the day on strong earnings reports.

The broad S&P 500 index retreated 0.8 per cent to 2,923.73 on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6 per cent to 26,430.14 and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.6 per cent to 8,049.64.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks shed 0.9 per cent to 1,576.38.

Benchmark US crude fell 14 cents to $63.46 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 31 cents to settle at $63.60 per barrel on Wednesday.

Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 19 cents to $71.99 per barrel. It added 12 cents to close at $72.18 per barrel in the previous session.

The dollar rose to 111.54 Japanese yen from 111.38 yen late Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1207 from $1.1198.

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