Asian Stocks Edge Up Ahead of Fed Meeting, But Market Volatility Remains

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Investing.com – Asian stocks were mostly up on Tuesday morning, with investors awaiting Wednesday’s U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting for further market outlook clues.

The Fed is expected to maintain its dovish stance in the wake of the relaxed approach on inflation announced at the Jackson Hole Symposium on August 27.

The Bank of Japan and the Bank of England are also due to hand down their policy decisions on Thursday.

But gains were limited by increasing market volatility over the ever-increasing number of global COVID-19 cases, which topped 29.1 million as of September 15 according to Johns Hopkins University data, the U.S. presidential election in November and the possibility of a hard Brexit.

“Market volatility is returning after months of steady advances in risk assets … valuations have risen, and we could see greater volatility as a result, especially as the U.S. election closes in,” BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) Investment Institute strategists led by Elga Bartsch said in a note.

China’s Shanghai Composite inched up 0.08% by 11:14 PM ET (4:14 AM GMT) while the SZSE Component was up 0.27%. Data released earlier in the day showed continuous progress in China’s economic recovery from COVID-19 in August, with retail sales increasing 0.5% year-on-year and industrial production increasing 45.6% year-on-year. Both figures beat expectations, with retail sales reporting their first increase in 2020. The unemployment rate for the month was 5.6%, against July’s 5.7%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.57% . Yoshihide Suga on Monday won the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in a landslide victory and looks set to be elected as incumbent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s replacement in a parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

Once elected, Suga looks set to continue many of Abe’s programs, inclusive of the Abenomics economic strategy.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.50%. The U.S. State Department on Monday updated its travel advisory on the city to “Level 3”, urging Americans to reconsider their travel plans to Hong Kong.

“Since the imposition of national security legislation on July 1, the PRC unilaterally and arbitrarily exercises policy and security power in Hong Kong … U.S. citizens are strongly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and avoid demonstrations,” the State Department said on its website.

South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.46% and in Australia, the ASX 200 edged down 0.14%, reversing some earlier gains.