Asia Rises Ahead of Fed Meeting

Major Asian stock markets closed higher on Monday as investors awaited developments on the U.S.-China trade front.The U.S. Federal Reserve was also set to begin its March policy meeting later in the week.

The Nikkei 225 average hiked 133.65 points, or 0.6%, to close Monday at 21,584.50, as shares of index heavyweights Fast Retailing, Softbank Group and Fanuc all advanced.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.53 against the U.S. dollar after seeing highs below 111.0 last week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index leaped 396.75 points, or 1.4%, to 29,409.01. Shares of rail operator MTR declined about 0.3% after a train collision disrupted services in the city.

Korean stocks moved higher as shares of automaker Hyundai Motor jumped 2.5%.

Australian markets advanced, with most sectors rising. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7117 U.S. after touching lows below $0.704 in the previous trading week.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is set to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday stateside, where it is expected to hold interest rates steady, while also issuing a new forecast with fewer rate hikes and a slower economy. The Fed also is likely to announce the end of its operation to unwind its balance sheet.


The CSI 300 index spiked 106.75 points, or 2.9%, to 3,851.75

Meanwhile, the U.S. and China looked to be closer to a trade deal, according to a Xinhua news report that both sides have made "concrete progress" on the text of the trade agreement.

The news comes after media reports Thursday that Chinese negotiators suggest combining a state visit to the U.S. with the signing of a trade deal. Beijing wants a deal to be fully ironed out before Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. President Donald Trump.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index picked up 12.78 points, or 0.4%, to 3,212.96

Korea’s Kospi Index added 3.38 points, or 0.2%, to 2,179.49

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index picked up 73.46 points, or 0.7%, to 10,512.70

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 moved higher 41.85 points, or 0.4%, to 9,515.12

In Australia, the ASX 200 improved 15.36 points, or 0.3%, to 6,190.53