GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks edge higher as investors await Fed statement

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Most Asian shares rose on Wednesday, extending a rally driven by upbeat Chinese and U.S. economic data, but investors showed little appetite for big bets as they awaited the Federal Reserve’s view on the economy at its policy meeting.

FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective masks walk past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei average, the exchange rate between Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar and other world’s benchmarks outside a brokerage, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan September 14, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

European bourses were set for a cautious start, with pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures down 0.15%, German DAX futures 0.06% lower and FTSE futures down 0.64% in early trade.

Following robust industrial output and retail sales data from China and higher U.S. factory production investors are focusing on the Fed’s policy statement due Wednesday, the first since Chair Jerome Powell announced an increased tolerance for higher inflation.

“The risk is if we see no new developments since his Jackson Hole shoutout, this could have near-term pressure on yields ticking up, gold and precious metals complex lower, dollar higher and general risk-off in U.S. equities,” said Kay Van-Petersen, global macro strategist at Saxo Capital Markets.

“If we do get a surprise on the accommodative side – we’ve gotten this a few times from smooth Jay (Powell) – then we could get the inverse of all that, including the next big structural break higher in gold.”

The Fed is due to make its statement at 1800 GMT Wednesday, followed by a news conference from Powell.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.4% higher. Australian shares gained 0.97% and Taiwan’s tech-heavy board added 1.02%.

However, Chinese blue-chips pulled back 0.62% as investors booked profits and as healthcare firms dragged on concerns over vaccine safety.

Japan’s Nikkei added

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