Asia Markets Slip Before Yellen Decision

Asian stocks were mixed Thursday morning as traders pulled back, awaiting the next meeting of the FOMC and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s decision on whether to set another rate hike in motion.

The question of whether Yellen will sanction the bullish comments made recently by other central bank officials has caused Asian markets to retreat from their highest level in a year. Speculation that another rate hike will be introduced by December has investors sitting tight.

According to James Woods, a strategist at Rivkin Securities in Sydney “Global markets have rallied over the past seven weeks, but those gains have looked increasingly exhausted over the past three. We are certainly due for a pullback. That being said, I don’t expect declines to be too large.”

In Australia, the ASX 200 was near flat at 5,557.50, retracing much of its near 0.3 percent early morning losses. Japan's Nikkei 225 was 0.26 percent lower, while across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was flat at 2,044.24. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index also traded flat at 22,814.55.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.2 percent to 138.72 as of 9:09 a.m. in Tokyo. The Topix index fell 0.2 percent as the yen traded at 100.56 per dollar. Chinese mainland markets traded lower, with the Shanghai composite down 0.74 percent, while the Shenzhen composite falling 0.97 percent.

US Markets Down

In the U.S. major indexes closed down on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 falling 11.46 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,175.44. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 65.82 points, or 0.35 percent, to 18,481.48, while the Nasdaq composite was lower by 42.38 points, or 0.81 percent, to 5,217.69.

Energy companies tumbled after a government report showed U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly rose last week.

Disclosure: None. 

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