GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks to open lower as investors eye Fed meeting

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks to open lower as investors eye Fed meeting
Credit: © Reuters.

* S&P 500 ends lower as investors eye Fed meeting

* Fed likely to pen rosier forecasts, but no policy shift expected

* BOJ may phase out asset-buying goal in review meeting Friday

By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall

NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - Asian stocks were set to open mostly lower on Wednesday following a sell-off in U.S. stocks, as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's meeting and whether the central bank will maintain near-zero interest rates amid the economy's post-pandemic recovery.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO lost 0.34% in early trading.

{{178|Japan's Ni Nikkei 225 futures NKc1 fell 0.20%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures .HSI HSIc1 rose 0.34%.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 EScv1 rose 0.13%.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones retreated late in the session on Tuesday as yields on longer-maturity U.S. Treasury bonds ticked up. This undercut investor optimism stoked by economic aid and vaccination drives.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 0.39% to end at 32,825.95 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.16% to 3,962.71. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC edged up 0.09% to 13,471.57. volatility in money markets has stoked speculation the Federal Reserve may be forced into a technical adjustment to the levers controlling its benchmark interest rate, but few expect the central bank to act on the matter at this week's meeting. expect (Chair Jerome) Powell to note the (Federal Open Markets Committee) has the tools to intervene if the bond market becomes disorderly or constrains the economic recovery," analysts of Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote. "But we expect Powell to push back against talk of policy tightening because of the large amount of labour market slack."

"US bond yields and the USD could jump if the FOMC's post-meeting statement and Powell's statement are not deemed dovish enough."

The Fed is expected to forecast that the U.S. economy will grow in 2021 at the fastest rate in decades. Bank of England also meets on Thursday, and the Bank of Japan wraps up a policy review on Friday in which it may phase out a numerical target for its asset buying. yield on benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR fell to 1.5281%, from 1.544% late on Tuesday.

Oil prices were lower again on Tuesday on concerns over demand after Germany, France and other European countries suspended use of AstraZeneca (LON: AZN )'s vaccine.

In currencies, the dollar held small gains, with caution evident ahead of the central bank meetings.

The dollar index =USD rose 0.059%, with the euro EUR= down 0.22% to $1.1902.

The Australian dollar fell 0.01% versus the greenback at $0.774.

The Japanese yen JPY= strengthened 0.09% versus the greenback at 109.01 per dollar.

Gold edged lower on Tuesday, pressured by a stronger dollar. U.S. gold futures GCv1 settled up 0.1% at $1,730.90.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 settled down 49 cents at $68.39 a barrel and U.S. crude futures CLc1 fell 59 cents to settle at $64.80 a barrel.

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