Asian shares retreat Tuesday, as Fed meeting looms

Asian shares retreat Tuesday, as Fed meeting looms

28 April 2015, 08:52

On Tuesday Asian stocks pulled back from a seven-year peak as markets were nervous ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy two-day meeting due to start later in the session.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 0.3 percent after earlier touching its highest level since January 2008.

Japan's Nikkei stock index advanced 0.3 percent as on hopes of better shareholder returns after index heavyweight Fanuc Corp doubled its dividend payout ratio.

Wall Street finished Monday's session lower after the benchmark S&P 500 index hit a record intraday high before reversing course, due to caution ahead the Fed meeting.

After markets closed, Apple Inc beat Wall Street's revenue and profit forecasts.

The two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting starting later on Tuesday is expected to bring no change in the policy, as recent US data have been weaker than forecast and a strong dollar has crimped export activities.

The euro was in focus overnight, climbing to a three-week peak of $1.0927, well off its 12-year nadir of $1.0457 plumbed in mid-March. It last stood at $1.0879, down about 0.1 percent on the day.

On Monday Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made changes in his team leading talks with European and IMF lenders, a move widely seen as an effort to lessen Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis's role in negotiations.

Tsipras added that the government's top priority was to pay wages and pensions, and that defaulting on debt was not an option either.

The firmer euro helped push the dollar index to a three-week low of 96.467 yesterday.

The dollar was 119.07 yen, up slightly on the day, with that currency pair seen rangebound ahead of a Japanese public holiday on Wednesday and the Bank of Japan's regular policy meeting on Thursday.

Analysts expect the BOJ to hold policy steady, but there is a slim possibility that policymakers may opt to ease further if the cut to this fiscal year's inflation forecast is unexpectedly big, or if they feel the slowdown in inflation is damaging enough to warrant pre-emptive action.

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