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Asia Markets Mixed on Wednesday        03/20 05:25

   Shares were mixed in Asia on Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy 
statement. Fresh news on China-U.S. trade talks raised spirits, helping Chinese 
benchmarks to trim early losses.

   BANGKOK (AP) -- Shares were mixed in Asia on Wednesday ahead of the Federal 
Reserve's policy statement. Fresh news on China-U.S. trade talks raised 
spirits, helping Chinese benchmarks to trim early losses.

   The Shanghai Composite was flat at 3,090.62 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 
0.2 percent to 29,399.89.

   White House officials said Tuesday that top U.S. trade and economic 
officials will visit China late next week for another round of negotiations on 
their dispute over Beijing's industrial policies and other issues.

   The sources, who spoke on background because they weren't authorized to 
comment publicly, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade 
Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead the delegation.

   The news suggests hope for progress, albeit delayed, in the tariffs war 
between the two largest economies. Business lobbyists say an agreement now 
probably won't be reached until late April.

   Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.2 percent to 21,608.92, 
while the S&P ASX 200 gave up 0.3 percent to 6,165.30. South Korea's Kospi was 
virtually unchanged at 2,177.10.

   Shares were higher in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia but fell in Singapore. 

   Global investors are looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's interest rate 
policy update due later Wednesday. The central bank has signaled that it will 
be "patient" in raising interest rates.

   "Against the backdrop of heightened concerns over U.S.-China trade and ahead 
of the Fed meeting, Asia markets may well trade cautiously once again," Jingyi 
Pan of IG said in a commentary. She added that "the broad sense is that 
regional markets will be attuned toward the Fed meeting."

   The Fed has made clear that with a dimmer economic picture in both the 
United States and globally, it no longer sees the need to keep raising rates as 
it did four times in 2018. Among the key factors, besides slower growth, are 
President Donald Trump's trade war with China, continually low inflation levels 
and Prime Minister Theresa May's struggle to execute Britain's exit from the 
European Union.

   U.S. stock indexes closed mostly lower Tuesday after a late-afternoon splash 
of selling erased early gains, ending a weeklong rally.

   The benchmark S&P 500 ended barely lower, losing less than one point to 
2,832.57, its second loss over the past seven trading days. It's still up 13 
percent so far in 2019.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1 percent to 25,887.38. The 
Nasdaq composite gained 0.1 percent to 7,723.95, while the Russell 2000 index 
of smaller-company stocks gave up 0.6 percent, to 1,554.99.

   More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Major indexes in 
Europe finished higher.

   CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.55 Japanese yen from 111.40 yen. The euro 
slipped to $1.1349 from $1.1351 on Tuesday.

   ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 4 cents to $59.25 per barrel in 
electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up 9 cents to 
close at $59.29 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, 
gained 9 cents to $67.70 a barrel.


(BE)

 
 
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