Asia Markets

Asia stocks mixed before Fed meeting; Shanghai snaps 5-day losing streak


Asian equities were mixed on Tuesday ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting with China's benchmark index outperforming the region following strong data.

The U.S. Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy review later on Tuesday and it is widely expected to declare the end of its quantitative easing program when it releases its statement Wednesday.

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"With the end of the asset purchase program a foregone conclusion, speculation is once again mounting about the movement of interest rates. The most watched two words in the financial world - 'considerable period' – continue to dominate financial commentary and The Street," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in a note.

Meanwhile, oil prices extended losses in Asian trade with U.S. crude back below $81 after tumbling to a 28-month low in the previous session. The lower prices saw Wall Street shares end flat overnight after staging their biggest weekly rally of the year on Friday.

China markets buck trend

China's Shanghai Composite index rallied 2 percent, rebounding from an eight-week low on Monday and snapping a five-session losing streak. Data showing September industrial profits rising 0.4 percent on year, reversing a 0.6 percent annual decline in August, underpinned gains.

Port-related shares were the biggest gainers after China's State Council approved the Tianjin Free Trade Zone (FTZ) project. Tianjin Port and Tianjin Marine Shipping rallied 8 and 10 percent, respectively.

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Hong Kong stocks also rebounded after closing down 0.7 percent on Monday.

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Nikkei 0.4% lower

Japan's benchmark index broke a two-day winning streak, with the Nikkei moving off Monday's two-week closing high. Sentiment was unable to get a boost after Finance Minister Taro Aso said that he will consider an economic package to support the economy after examining third-quarter data.

Retailers were mixed after data showed September retail sales rising at their fastest pace since March. Seven & I rallied 1 percent but Fast Retailing fell 2 percent.

In earnings news, camera maker Canon skidded 2.5 percent after reporting that operating profit fell by a fifth in the July-September quarter. Honda Motor fell 0.7 percent ahead of unveiling results. After the market close, the automaker posted a 4 percent fall in profits during the July-September period.

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ASX down 0.1%

Australia's benchmark retreated from a six-week high hit on Monday, ending two sessions of gains.

Miners were the biggest laggards; BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals fell more than 1 percent each on the back of lower iron ore prices.

BC Iron slumped 14 percent after cutting sales guidance by 12 percent for the year to June 2015 and Beach Energy slid nearly 7 percent after reporting a 12 percent decline in quarterly revenue.

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Kospi slips 0.3%

South Korean shares tracked Asia-wide losses. Data showing October consumer confidence falling to a three-month low also weighed on sentiment.

Samsung Heavy Industries and Samsung Engineering fell over 1 percent each as investors booked profits on Monday's 7 percent rally after shareholders approved a $2.5 billion merger between the two firms.

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Nifty up 0.1%

Indian shares rebounded after closing below the psychologically important 8,000 level on Monday, ending a five-day winning streak.