Asian Stocks Mixed Ahead of Central Bank Policy Decisions

This post was originally published on this site – Asian stock were mixed on Wednesday morning, with investors looking to a slew of central bank policy decisions due later in the day and on Thursday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve will hand down its policy decision later in the day, which is widely expected to continue the stance announced by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole symposium on August 27. The Bank of Japan and Bank of England will hand down their respective decisions on Thursday.

Hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine rose after U.S. President Donald Trump said that a vaccine could be ready within three to four weeks. But his comments also raised concerns, as experts including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci are putting forward a more cautious timetable.

Trade issues are also at the forefront for the U.S. after the World Trade Organization ruled on Tuesday that the country violated international regulations by imposing tariffs on more than $234 billion worth of Chinese exports.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged up 0.10% by 11:07 PM ET (4:07 AM GMT) and South Korea’s KOSPI edged up 0.16%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 was up 0.89%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index inched down 0.07%, reversing some earlier gains. The city reported no new local cases on Tuesday, and is set to further relax social distancing measures on Friday.

China’s Shanghai Composite inched down 0.06% while the Shenzhen Component was down 0.41%.

Investors are continuing the search for a catalyst to return global stocks back to their months-long rally, which came to halt earlier in the month. Central bank stimulus measures have provided some protection against risks such as the ever-rising number of global COVID-19 cases, November’s U.S. presidential election and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

“Given the volatility we have seen in the stock market in the last couple of weeks — as more evidence of some bubble-like characteristics in the exposure to growth stocks has been revealed — it’s hard to see a new, strong rally ahead of the U.S. election,” AXA Investment Managers chief investment officer of core investments Chris Iggo told Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress’ stalemate over the latest round of stimulus measures continued to raise concerns about the economic recovery from COVID-19.

“There is some expectation that with the U.S. Congress unwilling/unable to agree to a new fiscal package, monetary policy may need to step in to fill the void,” NAB analyst Tapas Strickland said in a note.

“Accordingly, markets will be focused on any changes to forward guidance and to any balance sheet adjustments,” the noted added.

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