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Asian Shares Mostly Lower Ahead Of Fed Decision


Asian stocks fell broadly on Wednesday as initial optimism over the Trump-Kim summit faded and investors shifted their focus to upcoming central bank meetings in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points when it ends its two-day policy meeting later today. On Thursday, the European Central Bank may outline plans for ending its bond purchasing program.

The Bank of Japan's policy decision is due on Friday, with no change to policy expected.

Chinese markets fell, dragged down by telecom shares as ZTE Corp. resumed trading after recently agreeing to pay up to $1.4 billion in penalties to the U.S. government.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slumped 30.01 points or 1 percent to 3,049.80, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 377.91 points or 1.2 percent to close at 30,725.15.

Australian shares closed notably lower, led by financials and commodity-related stocks as investors awaited clues on the Fed policy outlook.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 30.90 points or 0.5 percent to 6,023.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 31.70 points or 0.5 percent at 6,133.10.

The big four banks fell between 0.3 percent and 1 percent on a weaker Aussie dollar, and mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto shed more than 1 percent to extend losses amid declines in base metal prices.

On the other hand, gas pipeline company APA Group soared 21 percent after it received a A$12.98 billion (£7.3 billion) takeover offer from Hong Kong's CK Infrastructure Holdings.

Shares of Atlas Iron jumped 4.8 percent after Gina Rinehart disclosed a 19.96 stake in the company.

Meanwhile, Japanese shares closed higher as the yen extended losses ahead of the Fed, ECB and BoJ policy meetings. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 88.03 points or 0.4 percent to 22,966.38, while the broader Topix Index closed 0.4 percent higher at 1,800.37.

Toshiba shares soared 6.7 percent on share buyback news. Automaker Toyota gained 1.3 percent after the company said it has concluded an agreement with Grab Holdings Inc. to strengthen their existing partnership.

Energy stocks succumbed to selling pressure, with Inpex and Japan Petroleum closing down over 1 percent each. Nintendo plunged 6.2 percent after unveiling new game titles for its Nintendo Switch console

New Zealand shares finished modestly higher, with the benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index closing up 0.2 percent at 8,977.31. Consumer staple stocks declined, with A2 Milk falling 2.4 percent to close at $11.50. Markets in South Korea and Indonesia were closed for holidays.

India's Sensex was moving up 0.4 percent and the Taiwan Weighted rose 0.3 percent, while Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was marginally lower and Singapore's Straits Times index was down over 1 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed as the Trump-Kim summit failed to impress investors and focus turned to central bank meetings.

A gauge of U.S. inflation accelerated in May to the fastest pace in more than six years, reinforcing the Federal Reserve's outlook for gradual interest-rate hikes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid marginally, while the S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.6 percent to reach a fresh record closing high.

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