Asian markets drift with eyes on Fed policy meeting
HONG KONG, Sept 16: Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday as investors trod a cautious path following a broadly positive start to the week, with focus on the outcome of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.
Markets have enjoyed something of a respite from the roller-coaster ride seen earlier in the month, which saw a rout of previously surging technology firms, as vaccine hopes and upbeat economic data offset worries about fresh virus spikes and new containment measures.
With US lawmakers unable to agree on a new stimulus package -- despite the first running out last month, leaving millions of Americans struggling -- the onus has fallen on the central bank to do much of the leg work in supporting the world's top economy.
And while officials are not expected to unveil any fresh measures, having already indicated they will keep interest rates near zero for the foreseeable future, boss Jerome Powell's post-meeting comments will be pored over for an idea about the outlook and clues to future policy.
Wall Street "has priced out rate hikes to 2025, and when coupled with the fact the Fed has already ruled out the possibility of negative interest rates, it will be difficult, if not next to impossible, for the (policy board) to over-deliver on the dovish side tonight", said Stephen Innes at AxiCorp.
But National Australia Bank's Tapas Strickland warned stocks could suffer a pullback if investors were disappointed by the outcome. -AFP