Most Asia Markets Stumble Ahead of Fed Meeting

Most Asian indexes closed lower on Tuesday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's September meeting as investors awaited clues from the central bank on future monetary policy.

Markets in Japan emerged from a long weekend with a bang: the Nikkei 225 index popped 389.88 points, or 0.2%, to 20,299.38. Exporters, trading houses and retailers notched gains as the dollar extended overnight gains against the yen.

The Hang Seng Index docked 108.36 points, or 0.4%, to 28,051.41

Australian markets were off, as the heavily-weighted financials sub-index was off 0.02% despite trading higher earlier in the day.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia's minutes showed the central bank was positive about resilience in the country's jobs market, but expected wage growth to remain slow. The RBA was also concerned about household debt levels and strength in the Australian currency.

The Aussie dollar fetched $0.7982 U.S. late afternoon local time after spiking as high as $0.7993 immediately after the release of the minutes.

Korean markets slumped, with tech stocks giving up some gains made in the previous session. Samsung Electronics fell 0.7% by the end of the session after rising to a record high on Monday.

Ahead of the Fed meeting, the U.S. dollar extended gains against the yen after creeping higher overnight to trade around an eight-week high. The U.S. currency fetched 111.74 yen


The CSI 300 deleted 11.02 points, or 0.3%, to 3,832.12

In corporate news, Chinese search company Baidu announced over the weekend it had hired Herman Yu as its chief financial officer. Yu was formerly the CFO of Weibo, a microblogging platform. In a statement addressing the appointment, Baidu CEO Robin Li said the company was looking forward to entering "the next stage of growth in the AI [artificial intelligence] era."

Meanwhile, the institutional tranche of Chinese online insurer ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance's initial public offering has been oversubscribed, Reuters said Monday. The insurance company is expected to debut on the Hong Kong exchange Sept. 28

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex index slid 55.43 points, or 0.5%, to 10,576.14

In Korea, the Kospi index doffed 2.16 points, or 0.1%, to 2,416.05

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index fell 15.9 points, or 0.5%, to 3,225.95

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 recovered 5.82 points, or 0.1%, to 7,764.53

In Australia, the ASX 200 dropped 7.02 points, or 0.1% to 5,713.58