Asia shares lag record Wall Street, cautious of Fed plans

Asia shares lag record Wall Street, cautious of Fed plans

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will hold her quarterly press conference after the meeting and her comments will be scrutinized for any hints on whether a third rate hike is likely this year, and whether it would happen in September or be pushed back to December. Super-low unemployment is giving the Fed confidence to lift USA rates - gradually - even though inflation remains stubbornly below the Fed's 2 percent target.

Among the other major gainers, FamilyMart UNY Holdings is rising more than 4 percent, Kyocera is higher by more than 3 percent and Showa Denko KK is advancing nearly 3 percent.

Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities told AFP the Fed is likely to increase rates to ensure it will have room to maneuver and lower rates again in the event of a negative shock to the economy.

Anxious about rising interest rates?

The New Zealand dollar slipped 0.2 per cent to $0.7206 after touching a low of $0.7200, moving away from the previous session's almost four-month high of $0.7228.

The dollar was stuck in a narrow range around ¥110 in Tokyo trading Wednesday, with investors retreating to the sidelines to await a statement by the U.S. Federal Reserve following the end of its two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting later in the day. The Australian dollar rose to $0.7560, from $7542 on Monday. A strong dollar would, in turn, hurt US exporters.

UK's benchmark FTSE 100 closed down by 0.16 percent, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 ended the day up by 0.46 percent, Germany's Dax ended up by 0.57 percent, France's CAC finished the day up by 0.42 percent.

Wall Street had been in a more confident mood overnight, with major indexes at closing at record peaks.

USA stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday after markets closed at new highs Tuesday following a rebound in technology stocks. Long-dated yields earlier hit 2.886 percent, their highest since June 1.

US gold futures for August delivery settled down $0.3, or 0.02 percent, at $1,268.60.

Benchmark Brent crude retreated 35 cents to $48.37 a barrel while US light crude shed 42 cents to $46.04.

Ahead of the Fed announcement tomorrow morning New Zealand time, Statistics New Zealand releases balance of payments data for the first quarter today, which is expected to show the current account deficit unchanged at 2.7 per cent of gross domestic product.

Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday after OPEC detailed supply cuts around the world, but the cartel also said overall production rose in May, and crude stayed well below $50 a barrel despite the modest recovery.

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