Nikkei soars, but most Asian stocks lower ahead of Fed
In Asian trading Wednesday, Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.94% as USD/JPY traded slightly higher on speculation the Fed will announce a reduction to its bond-buying program.
While the Fed has committed to keep interest rates low, some reduction in the central bank's USD85 billion-per-month bond-buying program is expected. Tapering to the tune of USD10 billion to USD15 billion is expected by many market participants.
Most market observers do not expect tapering, now being referred to in some corners as "tapering lite," to impact markets much because ongoing speculation should have allowed markets to effectively price in the specter of reduced U.S. easing.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.32% while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.21%. Barclays lowered its forecast on China's 2014 GDP growth 7.4% from 7.8%.
"We note that fundamental challenges facing the Chinese economy have not been addressed, namely: industrial sector overcapacity, financial and fiscal risks (high corporate and local government debt, intertwined with risks associated with a growing shadow banking sector), a latent property bubble, and lower potential growth," according to a Barclays note.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.4% to back away from a five-year high. New Zealand's NZSE 50 was flat after Statistics New Zealand said the country's current account deficit narrowed more than expected to NZD9.1 billion in June. That equals 4.3% of GDP. Economists expected a reading of 4.8% of GDP.
The previous reading of New Zealand's current account deficit was revised to NZD9.5 billion or 4.5% of GDP, from NZD10.1 billion, or 4.8% of GDP. Statistics New Zealand said the account deficit narrowed in part due to lower profits earned in the country by foreign companies.
South Korea's dropped 0.39% while Singapore' Straits Times Index added 0.53%. S&P 500 futures nudged up 0.05% a day after the benchmark U.S. index rose 0.42%.
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