Asian shares mixed as Fed leaves rates unchanged

Asian shares are mixed after a wobbly day on Wall Street following the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would leave interest rates unchanged

Asian shares were mixed Thursday after a wobbly day on Wall Street following the Federal Reserve announcement it would leave interest rates unchanged.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged 0.3% higher to 23,455.96, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.6% to 6,709.40. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.5% to 2,137.81. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.2% at 26,951.54, while the Shanghai Composite stood at 2,920.13, down 0.2%.

Shares rose in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia.

The U.S. market shook off a mixed start after the Federal Reserve said it would be leave interest rates unchanged and signaled it expected to leave them alone in 2020 as well.

The central bank had been expected to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged this month after cutting it three times this year to shield the economy from slowing global growth and the fallout of U.S. trade conflicts.

Investor jitters over whether the U.S. and China will be able to avert a new escalation in their trade war has made for choppy trading this week, pulling major indexes lower.

Investors are hoping that both sides can avoid a new round of tariffs scheduled to kick in Sunday on Chinese goods that include phones, laptops and other popular products.

“The fact is the big event risk remains in place, with the world watching to see if the 15% tariffs kick in on $160 billion of Chinese exports on Sunday,” Chris Weston of Pepperstone said in a commentary.

Adding to the uncertainties overhanging the markets this week, Britain will vote in a national election Thursday that will likely determine if the United Kingdom pushes ahead with its departure from the 28-nation European Union.

The S&P 500 gained 0.3% to 3,141.63. The benchmark index is still on track for a slight weekly loss.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced back after being slightly lower most of the day. It rose 0.1% to 27,911.30. The Nasdaq added 0.4% to 8,654.05.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks edged up less than 0.1%, to 1,631.93.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil added 12 cents to $58.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 48 cents to $58.76 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 27 cents to $63.99 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was unchanged at 108.60 Japanese yen. The euro rose to $1.1142 from $1.1030.

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