Asian stocks drop as investors look towards central bank meetings

TOKYO – Asian stocks mostly fell Wednesday after a muted market response to the Trump-Kim summit. Investors have now turned their eyes to the trio of this week’s central bank meetings.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.3 per cent in early trading at 22,934.58. South Korea’s Kospi was down by less than 0.1 per cent at 2,468.83. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.6 per cent to 30,913.91, and the Shanghai Composite index also lost 0.6 per cent to 3,062.12. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also dropped 0.5 per cent to 6,024.10.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4.85 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,786.85, closing at its highest level since February 1. The Nasdaq composite added 43.87 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7,703.79 and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.58 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 25,320.73. The Russell 2000, an index that makes up mostly small companies, rose 7.62 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 1,682.30.

TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT: Trump and Kim concluded their summit Tuesday by committing to working “toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and to “build a lasting and stable peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula. Trump surprised both the Pentagon and the South Korean military by promising to end U.S. military exercises with South Korea. Details were left vague, but progress there has the chance of lowering geopolitical tensions in a region that includes three of the world’s largest economies: Japan, China and South Korea.

CENTRAL BANKS: The Federal Reserve resumes a two-day meeting on interest rates later Wednesday. Investors expect the central bank to raise its benchmark rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1.75-2 per cent. However investors’ attention will focus more on how many additional rate hikes Fed

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