BEIJING, China – Chinese stocks fell for a third day and other Asian markets were mixed Wednesday as investors looked ahead to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy update.
KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index shed 2.4 per cent to 4,769.73 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was off 0.3 per cent at 20,190.78. Taiwan, Manila and New Zealand also declined. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.3 per cent to 5,607.10 and Singapore and Jakarta also rose. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat at 26,579.06 and Seoul’s Kospi was unchanged at 2,027.96.
CHINA SLIDE: The market benchmark has slid this week after gaining more than 50 per cent this year, making it the world’s best performer. Investors are bracing for volatility following government steps to tighten regulation and rein in margin lending to finance stock purchases.
THE QUOTE: Chinese shares “have some bottom-up concerns,” said strategist Evan Lucas of IG Markets in a report. “Valuations are exorbitant. Trade velocity is at record highs Finally, it has the world’s highest level of margining and fundamentals are at breakneck levels.”
FED WATCH: Investors are looking ahead to the Fed’s statement due out later in the day on interest rate policy. They are looking for signs of when the U.S. central bank will begin raising its key interest rate after holding it close to zero for more than six years. Ultra-low rates have helped to drive a bull market in stocks. Many forecasters expect a rate hike in September if the economy keeps strengthening.
WALL STREET: Signs of more corporate deal-making sent U.S. stocks higher on Tuesday, allowing investors to take their mind off Greece’s debt troubles. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 113.31 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 17,904.48. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 11.86 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 2,096.29. The Nasdaq composite rose 25.58 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 5,055.55.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 11 cents to $60.08 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 45 cents on Tuesday to close at $59.97. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 7 cents to $63.77 in London after losing 25 cents on Tuesday to $63.70.
CURRENCIES: The dollar was little changed at 123.43 yen from 123.42 yen in the previous trading session. The euro edged up to $1.1253 from $1.1244.