Investing.com - Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday, as investors looked ahead to the outcome of the Federal Reserve''s policy meeting later in the day.
Market analysts expect the Fed to taper its bond buying program by another $10 billion from the current $65 billion, due to an improving economy.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng dropped 1.5%, China’s Shanghai Composite inched up 0.15%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.05% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended up 0.11% after remaining closed for a public holiday on Tuesday.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei pared earlier gains after the Bank of Japan refrained from expanding stimulus on Wednesday, as widely expected. The BOJ stuck with targeting an annual increase in the monetary base of between 60-and-70 trillion yen. USD/JPY fell to a daily low of 102.27 following the decision, moving off the previous session’s high of 102.77.
In earnings news, Panasonic (6752.TOK) saw shares dip 0.1% in volatile trade as the market digested the company’s financial results, released after Monday’s closing bell.
Kyocera (6971.TOK) rallied 3.4% on the back of better than expected profit results.
On the downside, NEC (6701.TOK) plunged 5.3% after growth in its bottom line missed forecasts.
Elsewhere, shares in Hong Kong slumped after rallying sharply on Tuesday as investors continued to weigh corporate earnings.
Aluminum Corporation of China, or CHALCO, lost 3.8% in Hong Kong after its first-quarter loss widened.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (1398.HK) slumped 1.7% after releasing disappointing first quarter earnings.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index swung between small gains and losses as weakness in the financial sector weighed on the benchmark index.
Westpac Banking (WBC.ASX) fell 0.8%, National Australia Bank (NAB.ASX) retreated 0.6%, while ANZ Banking Group (ANZ.ASX) and Commonwealth Bank Of Australia (CBA.ASX) shed 0.4% and 0.1% respectively.
Woolworths (WOW.ASX) declined 1.9% after releasing its quarterly sales results ahead of the open.
Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a lower open ahead of the release of key euro zone inflation data.
The Euro Stoxx 50 futures pointed to a loss of 0.6%, France’s CAC 40 shed 0.55%, London’s FTSE 100 indicated a decline of 0.35%, while Germany''s DAX futures fell 0.3%.
Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets also pointed to a weak open. The Dow pointed to a drop of 0.2%, S&P 500 futures inched down 0.25%, while the Nasdaq 100 indicated a decline of 0.55%.
The U.S. is to release preliminary data on first quarter GDP, as well as the ADP report on private sector job creation. The U.S. is also to release data on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region.
Investors were also turning their attention to Friday’s U.S. jobs report for April, which was expected to indicate that the recovery in the labor market is continuing.