Asian Stocks Higher as Fed, Bank of Japan in Focus

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) —
A man looks at the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the Korea Exchange in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Most Asian stock benchmarks rebounded from early losses Tuesday as investors started shaking off the jitters from Britain's vote to quit the European Union and its messy aftermath. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A man looks at the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the Korea Exchange in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Asian stock markets were moderately higher on Monday as investors awaited the outcome from the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan policy meetings later this week.

South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8 percent to 2,015.78 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.9 percent to 23,549.64. China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5 percent to 3,018.37. Markets in Taiwan, Singapore and elsewhere in Southeast Asia were mostly higher. Japan was closed for a holiday. Australia’s stock market suspended trading after a couple of hours due to technical glitches. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 5,294.80, little changed from the previous session.

“World markets appear to be taking this week’s Fed meeting seriously. While the Fed may not go as far as lifting its rate this week, it remains possible that it could move to a more explicit tightening bias,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

Investors do not expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates when its policymakers end the two-day meeting on Wednesday. But they will scrutinize its statement for implications about the future rate hike. The Bank of Japan is expected to expand its monetary easing when it meets Tuesday. Some analysts believe the Bank of Japan may increase asset purchases up to 100 trillion yen a year from the current 80 trillion yen, or take its negative policy rate to minus 0.3 percent from minus 0.1 percent.

Samsung shares finished 2 percent higher on Monday in Seoul, extending gains for a second straight session. Samsung Electronics lost billions of dollars in market value after its Galaxy Note 7 batteries caught fire, leading the U.S. government to announce an official recall last week. The South Korean company began exchanging the old Galaxy Note 7 with a new one to South Korean consumers on Monday.

U.S stocks closed moderately lower on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 88.68 points, or 0.5 percent, to 18,123.80. Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 8.10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,139.16, and the Nasdaq composite fell 5.12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,244.57.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 74 cents to $43.77 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 72 cents to $46.50 per barrel.

The dollar fell to 102.09 yen from 102.28, while the euro climbed to $1.1161 from $1.1158.

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