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Global Markets: Asian stocks step back as investors brace for Fed

Reuters  |  TOKYO 

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares edged slightly lower on Wednesday as investors looked to the Federal Reserve policy decision and any clues it might give on future rate hikes, shifting focus away from the historic U.S.-summit in Singapore.

MSCI's broadest index of shares outside dipped 0.15 percent in early trade, giving up the slim gains they made following Tuesday's meeting between U.S. and North Korean leader

Japan's Nikkei eked out gains of 0.10 percent.

On Wall Street, the <.SPX > gained 0.17 percent, led by a continued rally in The added 0.57 percent, to finish at record low of 7,703.

"The agreement at the summit lacked details. There was no clear roadmap to denuclearisation. So that wasn't something that makes markets 100 percent risk-on," said Shuji Shirota, of macro group at in

With the U.S.-summit out of the way, market focus is quickly shifting to the Fed's two-day policy meeting ending on Wednesday.

The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates for second time this year after a move in March, but the bigger question for investors is the outlook of the Fed's future monetary tightening amid an ongoing economic expansion.

"With a rate hike almost fully priced in, the focus is on how many times the Fed will raise rates this year and next and how much beyond the levels it considers as neutral to the economy, or what they call the longer-run rates," said HSBC's Shirota.

Projections from the Fed's March meeting suggest a benchmark rate of 2.1 percent at end of 2018, based on the median forecast of central bank policymakers, which would mean three rate hikes in total this year.

In the currency market, the dollar was relatively well bid ahead of the Fed's meeting.

The euro traded at $1.1744, off last week's high of $1.1840 touched on June 7 though it was underpinned by expectations that the may drop a hint of winding up its stimulus after its policy meeting on Thursday.

The dollar stood at 110.50 44 yen, near its highest levels in about three weeks.

Some emerging market currencies stayed under pressure on worries higher U.S. rates could prompt fund outflows from emerging markets to the

The Mexican peso hit a 16-month low of 20.724 peso to the dollar while the South African rand dropped to a six-month low of 13.345 per dollar, extending its decline, triggered by disappointing GDP data last week.

dipped after data from the showed a surprise build of 833,000 barrels in U.S. crude stockpiles. Analysts had expected a decline of 2.7 million barrels.

U.S. Intermediate crude futures traded at $65.83 per barrel.

Elsewhere, bitcoin fell to a 2-1/2-month low of $6,461 at Bitstamp exchange on Tuesday on mounting regulatory and security concerns after the weekend hacking of South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail.

(Editing by Sam Holmes)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 13 2018. 08:22 IST