Asian markets mixed as market await next Fed leader

November 2, 2017

A currency trader talks on phone as a screen at right shows the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Asian stock markets were mostly lower on Thursday as investors awaited U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on his choice to lead the Federal Reserve, shrugging off the results of a Fed meeting that were in line with their expectations. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday as investors were waiting for the announcement on the next Federal Reserve leader, shrugging off results of a Fed meeting that met their expectations. Some markets were pressured by investors locking in profit from recent gains.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to 22,458.30 while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.2 percent to 2,551.94 as investors took a breather from the latest streak of winning. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched up 0.1 percent to 28,620.16. Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3 percent to 3,384.15. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 5,939.40. Stocks in Singapore were lower but elsewhere in Southeast Asia, they were higher.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Market participants are waiting for the nomination of the next Fed chair to assess future monetary policy shifts,” said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore. “Current Fed governor Jerome Power is believed to be the most promising candidate, who will likely bring certainty and consistency to the rate hike path.”

FED WATCH: The Federal Reserve kept its interest rates steady at their low levels as widely expected and upgraded their views on the U.S. economy saying that the world’s largest economy is rising “at a solid rate,” a term stronger than “moderate” rate used in September. The phrase strengthened the views that the Fed was due to hike interest rates in December. President Donald Trump is expected to name the successor to Fed Chair Janet Yellen later in the day.

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets finished mixed on Wednesday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.2 percent to 2,579.36. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.3 percent to 23,435.01. But the Nasdaq composite fell 0.2 percent to 6,716.53. The small-cap Russell 2000 index lost 0.7 percent to 1,492.78.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 2 cents to $54.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled at $54.30 per barrel on Wednesday, down 8 cents. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 9 cents to $60.58 per barrel in London. It fell 45 cents to $60.49 on Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 114.22 Japanese yen from 113.71 yen late Tuesday. The euro dipped to $1.1620 from $1.1651, and the British pound fell to $1.3249 from $1.3282.

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