U.S. stocks mostly rose ahead of Asia’s Wednesday trading day, with a majority of investors expecting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at the end of its two-day policy meeting.
Most major U.S. indexes rose on Tuesday as optimism over tax reform mounted. The existing version of the tax bill will include a 21 percent corporate tax rate, sources told CNBC. House and Senate Republicans had earlier passed separate version of the bill and are now hammering out a joint bill.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 118.77 points, or 0.49 percent, posting a record close of 24,504.80. The S&P 500 edged up 0.15 percent to end at 2,664.11 while the Nasdaq composite shed 0.19 percent to finish at 6,862.32.
Markets awaited the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s December policy meeting on Wednesday U.S. time. The Fed is expected by most market watchers to raise interest rates by a quarter point.
Investors are also watching the Fed for clues about how the central bank will process possible changes to the U.S. tax system going forward. Decisions from other central banks, including the Bank of England and European Central Bank, are also expected in the week.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of six currencies, was firmer at 94.088 at 6:38 a.m. HK/SIN. Against the yen, the greenback was mostly stable at 113.53.
“A lot of positive news is priced in the dollar and currency is vulnerable to disappointment,” Giulia Specchia, an economist at ANZ, said in a morning note.
Back in Asia, futures pointed to a higher open for equities in Japan. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.24 percent at 22,920, and Osaka futures were 0.15 percent higher at 22,900.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 ground higher, trading higher by 0.06 percent, in early trade.
In currencies, a flurry of M&A news on Tuesday saw the Australian dollar edge higher. The Aussie dollar traded at $0.7556 at 6:32 a.m. HK/SIN after climbing as high as $0.7580 in the session.
The move higher in the currency came following headlines that France’s Unibail-Rodamco would acquire shopping center company Westfield, which has an portfolio that includes Westfield London, for $15.7 billion. Australian bank ANZ also said on Tuesday that its life insurance business would be sold to Zurich Life.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand dollar traded at $0.6931 at 7:06 a.m. HK/SIN after touching a one-month high earlier. The currency was given a boost following the appointment of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s new governor earlier this week.
In commodities, oil prices reversed gains made on Monday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said it expects U.S. oil production to rise sharply next year, Reuters said. Prices had risen earlier this week following the closure of Britain’s Forties Pipeline for repairs.
The economic calendar for Wednesday is fairly top-heavy (all times in HK/SIN):
- 7:30 a.m.: Australia Westpac Consumer Confidence Index
- 7:50 a.m.: Japan machinery orders
- 10:30 a.m.: Singapore unemployment rate
Source: cnbc china
Asia markets take cues from a mixed US trading day ahead of Fed decision