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Asian shares mixed as Fed leaves rates unchanged

/ 11:31 AM December 12, 2019

TOKYO  — 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 up 0.2% in early trading to 23,433.83, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7% to 6,706.90. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.2% to 2,129.89. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.1% at 26,948.02, while the Shanghai Composite stood at 2,918.83, down 0.2%.

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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 lowering it three times this year to shield the economy from slowing global growth and the fallout of U.S. trade conflicts.

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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.

Wall Street is 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 S&P 500 gained 9.11 points, or 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 29.58 points, or 0.1%, to 27,911.30. The Nasdaq added 37.87 points, or 0.4%, to 8,654.05.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks edged up 0.21 points, or less than 0.1%, to 1,631.93.

ENERGY:
Benchmark crude oil added 14 cents to $58.90 a barrel. 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 fell to 108.53 Japanese yen from 108.73 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1139 from $1.1084.

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