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Asian Shares Rise As Investors Eye Fed Meeting

stockmarkets aug20 15jun21 lt

Asian stocks ended broadly higher on Tuesday, although Chinese and Hong Kong markets fell as traders returned from a long weekend to play catch-up with global markets. All eyes were on a key Federal Reserve announcement scheduled for Wednesday amid fears of rising interest rates.

China's Shanghai Composite Index dropped 33.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,556.56, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index down 203.60 points, or 0.7 percent, at 28,638.53.

Japanese stocks extended gains from the previous session after the Bank of Japan said it would consider extending its pandemic-relief programs to support a fragile economic recovery.

The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 279.50 points, or 1 percent, to 29,441.30, marking its biggest gain since late May. The broader Topix ended 0.8 percent higher at 1,975.48, reaching its highest closing level since early April.

Drug makers led the gainers, with Eisai spiking 6.6 percent after saying it expects to earn billions of dollars a year from its new Alzheimer's disease drug developed jointly with U.S. biopharmaceutical company Biogen Inc.

Takeda Pharmaceutical gained 1.7 percent after a study found that Novavax's coronavirus vaccine is 90 percent effective against a variety of variants of the virus. Takeda is handling the supply of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine in Japan.

Australian markets hit a record high, with gains seen across the board, as Victoria reported no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and minutes of the June Reserve Bank of Australia meeting signaled a dovish bias.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rallied 67.20 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,379.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 55.80 points, or 0.7 percent, at 7,633.

Tech stocks led the surge, with Afterpay, Xero and Wisetech Global climbing 2-3 percent. The big four banks rose between 0.8 percent and 2.1 percent, while mining heavyweight Rio Tinto gained 1.2 percent and Mineral Resources jumped 3.1 percent.

Energy stocks posted modest gains. Metal recycler Sims Metal added 1.4 percent after lifting its full-year guidance. Gold miners Evolution, Newcrest and Northern Star Resources gave up 1-2 percent after gold prices tumbled overnight. Austal plunged 9 percent after the shipbuilder downgraded its full-year guidance.

Seoul stocks closed at record highs and benchmark bond yields fell heading into the Fed policy update. The Kospi inched up 6.50 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,258.63, extending gains for the fourth straight session. Heavyweight Samsung Electronics gained half a percent and peer SK Hynix added 1.2 percent.

New Zealand shares posted solid gains, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index surging up 134.22 points, or 1.1 percent, to settle at 12,696.39. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare jumped 5.6 percent, while A2 Milk advanced 4.3 percent.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as investors refrained from making big bets amid a lack of major catalysts and ahead of this week's Federal Reserve meeting.

The Dow dipped 0.3 percent, while the S&P 500 edged up 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.7 percent to reach new record closing highs.

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