HONG KONG (AP) — Most Asian stock markets slipped Thursday after a lackluster day on Wall Street as the Fed used its latest assessment of the U.S. economy to signal that more interest rate increases are on the way.
KEEPING SCORE: South Korea’s Kospi added 0.5 percent to 2,231.25. But other benchmarks across Asia fell, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng losing 0.5 percent to 24,567.04 and the Shanghai Composite on mainland China shedding 0.5 percent to 3,120.04. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent to 5,865.10. Japan’s market remained closed for a holiday.
FED IN FOCUS: U.S. interest rates remained unchanged after the latest policy meeting by the Federal Reserve, which also said it expects the U.S. economy, the world’s biggest, to start growing at a faster pace. The remarks by the Federal Open Market Committee contained no surprises and provided further support for another widely expected Fed interest rate rise, which could come in June. The Fed has signaled it plans to continue gradually raising interest rates that have been at ultralow levels for years, gently removing the stimulus that has helped fuel an extended stock rally.
MARKET INSIGHT: “The FOMC meeting provided few surprises and that’s how the Federal Reserve likes things,” said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne. “They are part of the reasoning why the world has a love affair with selling volatility.”
WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 0.1 percent to 2,388.13. The Dow Jones industrial average rose a fraction to 20,957.90. The Nasdaq composite sank 0.4 percent to 6,072.55.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude futures shed 16 cents to $47.66 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 16 cents to settle at $47.82 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 17 cents to $50.62 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.77 yen from 112.64 yen in late trading Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.0893 from $1.0887.