Asian Markets Mostly Lower

Asian equities struggled on Wednesday, ahead of a rates decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Nikkei 225 Index fell 32.12 points, or 0.2%, to 19,577.38, as the yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar. A stronger yen is generally seen as a negative for Japanese stocks.

The yen traded stronger at 114.67 against the greenback versus yesterday's highs above 115, while the Australian dollar was at $0.7579 U.S.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong dropped 35.1 points, or 0.2% to 23,792.85

Toshiba fell 12.3% to 189.50 yen per stock, after the Tokyo Stock Exchange put its shares under supervision to see whether it meets the delisting criteria following the conglomerate postponing its official third-quarter earnings.

Korean markets were fairly flat, as local media outlets said the country would hold a presidential election on May 9 to replace impeached leader Park Geun-hye.

Prior to market open, official South Korean data showed the unemployment rate was at 5% in February, its highest since January 2010. The jobless rate was at 3.8% in January.

Market expectations for a 25-basis-point rate hike by the U.S. Fed stood at 93% as the Asian trading day drew to a close.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 recovered 6.95 points, or 0.2%, to 3,463.64

In a Wednesday news conference, Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need for China to have healthy relations with the U.S., and reiterated China's stability in economics, financial markets and foreign policy.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to have scheduled talks next month.

In other markets

The Kospi Index in Korea docked 0.78 points to 2,133

In Taiwan, the Taiex slipped 3.9 points to 9,740.31

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index doffed 5.97 points, or 0.2%, to 3,137.43

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 fell 45.79 points, or 0.6%, to 7,131.31

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 14.86 points, or 0.3%, to 5,774