Asia Markets: Asian markets rise ahead of Fed meeting

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Asian markets rose in early trading Wednesday, as traders awaited reassurance from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.18% inched up about 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.46% edged up 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.63% rose 0.8%, while benchmark indexes gained in Taiwan Y9999, +1.56% , Singapore STI, +0.47% and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.45% . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.93% advanced 0.9%. Japan’s Nikkei was closed for a holiday.

In South Korea, Samsung Electronics 005930, -0.20% shares were down slightly after the tech giant reported a slight decline in net quarterly profit, despite increased demand for its memory chips.

“That didn’t take long for Asia to get back on the rally bus,” wrote Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist for AxiTrader, in a note. “Traders are expecting a significant rewrite in today’s FOMC policy statement when the Fed will, in unambiguous terms, send clear messaging that extraordinary policy settings will remain in place for as long as it takes.”

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak Wednesday after the Fed ends its two-day meeting. While no action on interest rates is expected, the Fed chief is expected to offer a reassuring message to investors that it has the current financial crisis under control following a number of stimulus moves in recent weeks, and as the U.S. moves toward reopening its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. stock futures YM00, +0.85% ES00, +1.04% gained Wednesday night as U.S. crude futures CLM20, +14.58% shot up in electronic trading following more losses on Tuesday.

Stocks on Wall Street closed lower Tuesday, giving up early gains, as technology stocks took a hit ahead of earnings reports. Wednesday is set to be the busiest day of this earnings season, with Boeing, Facebook and Tesla among the companies reporting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.13% lost 32.23 points, or 0.1%, to end at 24,101.55, snapping four days of gains. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.52% shed 15.09 points, or 0.5%, to finish at 2,863.39. The Nasdaq Composite index COMP, -1.40% dropped 122.43 points, or 1.4%, closing at 8,607.73.