World Markets Cautious As Fed Policy Meet Nears Conclusion

Asian markets finished higher today with the exception of Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei 225. The Federal Reserve’s impending decision on monetary policy direction remains a highlight among world markets.

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Asian markets mixed

Among all the major Asian indices, Taiwan’s TSEC 50 surged the most at 1.02% to 8,699.14 followed by the Mumbai Sensex, which inched up 0.51% to 24,676.05. China’s Shanghai SE Composite Index added 6.06 points to 2,870.43 and Australia’s ASX All Ordinaries gained 0.14% to 5,175.70 during the session. Both the Hang Seng and the Nikkei 225 registered a fall of 0.15% to 20,257.70 and 0.83% to 16,974.45 respectively.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.13% to 17,251.53 and the S&P 500 fell 0.18% to 2,015.93 as retail sales in the region fell 0.1% in February. The focus will now be on the Fed’s policy meet as it is widely expected that the central bank will keep a rate hike on hold this time.

Inflation has now exceeded the central bank’s 2% target rate while PCE inflation, which is considered as the Fed’s preferred measure has touched 1.7% in January. The Fed had projected PCE inflation at 1.6% by year end. Analysts at DBS believe that the Fed is falling behind the curve and should hike rates by 50 basis points no later than June this year.

Oil pushes European equities up

Meanwhile, European markets opened on a cautious note but traded higher as oil prices witnessed a rebound during the later Asian afternoon. In Britain, investors are closely following an update on the budget, which will be presented by Chancellor George Osborne, who is likely to announce public spending cuts.

In the early hours, FTSE 100 gained 0.17% to 6,150.67 and Euro next 100 inched up by 0.30% to 875.10. CAC 40 rose 0.39% to 4,490 and DAX gained 0.74% to 10,007.06.

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