Asian stocks rise as investors await Federal Reserve meeting

  • Major Asian stock markets advanced on the day.
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve is set to meet later this week.
  • Investors will be watching out for developments on the U.S.-China trade front following a report by Xinhua news agency last Friday that suggested progress had been made toward striking a deal.
  • Russia plans to be fully compliant with OPEC-led supply cuts over the next few weeks, according to the country's energy minister, Alexander Novak.

Major Asian stock markets closed higher on Monday as investors awaited developments on the U.S.-China trade front.The U.S. Federal Reserve was also set to begin its March policy meeting later in the week.

Mainland Chinese shares advanced on the day, as the Shanghai composite jumped 2.47 percent to close at 3,096.42 and the Shenzhen component gained 3.067 percent to finish at 9,843.43. The Shenzhen composite also added 2.706 percent to close at 1,685.79.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose around 1 percent in its final hour of trading. Shares of rail operator MTR declined about 0.3 percent after a train collision disrupted services in the city.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.62 percent to close at 21,584.50 as shares of index heavyweights Fast Retailing, Softbank Group and Fanuc all advanced. The Topix index also added 0.69 percent to finish at 1,613.68.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.16 percent higher at 2,179.49 as shares of automaker Hyundai Motor jumped 2.48 percent. The ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.25 percent to close at 6,190.50, with most sectors rising.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and China looked to be closer to a trade deal, according to a Xinhua news report that both sides have made "concrete progress" on the text of the trade agreement.

The news comes after CNBC reported Thursday that Chinese negotiators suggest combining a state visit to the U.S. with the signing of a trade deal. Beijing wants a deal to be fully ironed out before Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. President Donald Trump.

"While there is presumably a strong US political imperative to get a deal done ahead of next year's elections, and presumably China is keen to bed down this issue, and while we expect a deal to be proclaimed, we can only believe it once it's seen," David de Garis, a director and senior economist at National Australia Bank, said in a morning note.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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Fed to meet later this week

The U.S. Federal Reserve is set to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday stateside, where it is expected to hold interest rates steady, while also issuing a new forecast with fewer rate hikes and a slower economy. The Fed also is likely to announce the end of its operation to unwind its balance sheet.

"I think most people are expecting them to downgrade their ... GDP and macro forecasts. That'll feed through to (a) lowering of their interest rate projections," Peter Dragicevich, financial market strategist at Suncorp, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Monday.

Russia commits to OPEC-led oil supply cuts

Russia plans to be fully compliant with OPEC-led supply cuts over the next few weeks, according to the country's energy minister, Alexander Novak.

His comments came three months into a fresh round of production cuts from the so-called OPEC+ alliance. The producers meet in mid-April to review their oil supply cut agreement, which is scheduled to last through the first half of 2019.

Oil prices were tepid in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. The international benchmark Brent crude futures contract was largely flat at $67.15 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures fell 0.22 percent to $58.39 per barrel.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.464 after slipping from highs above 97.2 in the previous week.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.53 against the dollar after seeing highs below 111.0 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7117 after touching lows below $0.704 in the previous trading week.

— CNBC's Patti Domm, Fred Imbert and Sam Meredith contributed to this report.