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By Saikat Chatterjee
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Asian stocks held near three-week lows and the greenback consolidated recent gains on Thursday after minutes of the last U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting indicated a December rate increase was still on the cards.
Risk appetite waned, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> easing 0.2 percent, its lowest since Sept. 21. Early stock markets were mixed with Australia <.AXJO> down 0.5 percent while New Zealand stocks <.NZ50> up 0.4 percent.
"In our view, if you came into these minutes with a December hike pencilled in, there is no reason to change your stance," Omair Sharif, an economist at Societe Generale, wrote in a note.
Wall Street struggled to find fresh momentum after breaking conclusively below a 100-day moving average this week.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> closed up 0.09 percent, to 18,144.2. The S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 0.11 percent, to 2,139.17 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC slipped 0.15 percent, to 5,239.02 with corporate earnings firmly in focus. Volumes were light. [.N]
Chinese stocks and the Australian dollar
The CBOE Volatility Index <.VIX>, the "fear gauge" of near-term investor anxiety held below 16, indicating broader market uncertainty.
Within Asia, the Thai baht
Oil prices struggled after falling 1 percent overnight after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported its output hit an eight-year high in September, offsetting optimism over the group's pledge to restrict output.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude
(Editing by Eric Meijer)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)