Stocks in Asia Pacific rose in morning trade as investors await the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates, expected later on Wednesday stateside.
Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher in early trade, with the Shanghai composite up about 0.4% while the Shenzhen composite gained 0.469%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also advanced 0.84%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.94% higher.
On the corporate earnings front, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics posted a first quarter net profit of 4.9 trillion Korean won (approx. $4.01 billion), Reuters reported Wednesday. Still, that was below Refinitiv estimates of 5.1 trillion won.
The industry heavyweight flagged that overall earnings are likely to decline in the second quarter as compared to the previous period, while Covid-19 is expected to significantly impact demand for several of its core products, according to Reuters. Shares of Samsung Electronics last traded about 0.2% higher.
Markets in Japan are closed on Wednesday for a holiday.
In central bank news, the Fed is expected to announce its interest rate decision at 2:00 a.m. HK/SIN on Thursday. Investors will look for guidance on the U.S. central bank’s future path of interest rates as the country looks toward gradually reopening its economy.
“We are not expecting any policy action from the Fed, which has already unleashed unwavering policy easing at emergency meetings; from slashing rates to essentially zero; “unlimited QE”; to various extended liquidity/lending facilities,” analysts at Mizuho Bank wrote in a note.
“It is more likely that the Fed will merely, assess the policy actions that have been announced, and possibly streamline/clarify the plethora of facilities set up,” the analysts said. “That said, there will be nothing in the rhetoric to suggest that the Fed is in anything but dovish mode, and maintaining an aggressive easing stance.”
Oil prices jumped in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures 3.62% higher at $21.20 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 12.56% to $13.89 per barrel.
Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a four-session winning streak as it closed 32.23 points lower at 24,101.55. The S&P 500 ended its trading day 0.5% lower at 2,863.39 while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.4% to close at 8,607.73.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.675 after an earlier high of 99.885.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.52 per dollar after strengthening sharply from levels above 107.2 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6525 following a rise from levels below $0.648 yesterday.