By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Nikkei, Hang Seng largely unchanged ahead of expected rate cut
Asian markets were flat in early trading Wednesday, as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's expected interest-rate cut later in the day.
The Fed is widely expected to announce a quarter-percentage-point cut to its benchmark interest rate after it ends its two-day meeting. The rate cut would be the second one this summer, and investors will be closely watching for signals of future cuts.
Meanwhile, Japan's August exports contracted at a faster pace than expected , likely putting pressure on the Bank of Japan to further ease its monetary policy.
South Korea also followed through with plans to drop Japan from a list of countries receiving fast-track approvals in trade, a reaction to a similar move by Tokyo to downgrade Seoul's trade status amid a tense diplomatic dispute.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump suggested a trade deal with China could happen "maybe soon," but added that it could also come after the 2020 election.
Japan's Nikkei was about flat, as was Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index . The Shanghai Composite swung between slight gains and losses, as did the Shenzhen Composite . South Korea's Kospi rose 0.5% while benchmark indexes in Taiwan , Singapore , Malaysia and Indonesia largely posted slight gains. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down fractionally.
Among individual stocks, Fast Retailing gained in Tokyo trading while Honda (7203.TO) and oil producer Inpex fell. In Hong Kong, (AAPL) omponent maker AAC surged, while CNOOC and food processor WH Group declined. Samsung (005930.SE) rose in South Korea and SK Hynix (066570.SE) advanced in South Korea and Largan Precision gained in Taiwan. Beach Energy gained in Australia, as did clothing retailer Kathmandu (KMD.NZ) after it posted record fiscal-year profits (https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/kathmandu-posts-record-profit-as-aussie-shoppers-drive-sales-20190918-p52sf2.html).