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Asian Shares Muted Ahead Of Central Bank Meetings

Asian stocks remain muted on Tuesday as investors waited to take cues from central bank meetings.

The European Central Bank (ECB) will announce its interest-rate decision on Thursday, with economists expecting a stimulus package that includes a rate cut to boost growth amid the ongoing U.S.-Sino trade war.

Analysts, however, remain divided over whether the ECB will opt for a massive extension of bond purchases known as quantitative easing.

The Federal Reserve will continue to act "as appropriate" to sustain the U.S. economic expansion, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said Friday in Zurich, bolstering expectations for a rate cut at the Fed's meeting on Sept. 18.

Gold prices hovered near a four-week low in Asian trading, while oil prices rose on expectations that OPEC and other countries may agree to extend production cuts ahead of a meeting in Abu Dhabi this week.

China's Shanghai Composite index was down about half a percent at 3,010 on hopes that Beijing will introduce more stimulus measures to prop up its slowing economy. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was little changed with a positive bias.

Japan's Nikkei index rose 0.3 percent to 21,372, with sentiment helped by a cheaper yen as fears of a no-deal hard Brexit receded and reports suggested that Germany is considering the creation of a "shadow budget" to boost public investment.

German bund yields hit a one-month high after Reuters said that Germany is considering a "shadow budget" to allow the government to circumvent its strict national debt rules.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was declining half a percent as tech stocks such as Appen and WiseTech Global fell heavily, offsetting gains in the energy sector. South Korea's Kospi average was up 0.1 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended narrowly mixed as investors looked ahead to central bank meetings.

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.1 percent to reach its best closing level in over a month, the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 edged down marginally.

European markets ended Monday's session mostly lower after the release of weak Chinese data and ahead of Thursday's ECB meeting.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gave up 0.3 percent. The German DAX rose 0.3 percent after a surprise rise in German exports, while France's CAC 40 index eased 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 0.6 percent.

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