Oct 26, 2015 11:19 PM

Asian stocks down as China leaders meet, Fed reviews policy

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Asian stock markets were lower Tuesday as investors awaited monetary policy announcements from central banks and the outcome of China's economic planning meeting.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 percent to 18,870.08 and South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.2 percent to 2,043.98. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.8 percent to 22,943.07 and Shanghai composite Index in mainland China slumped 2.3 percent to 3,350.99. Stocks in Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Australia also were lower.

CHINA MEETING: Chinese leaders began a five-day meeting on Monday to set goals for the world's second-largest economy for the next five years. The Communist Party leaders are expected to redouble their efforts to shift China's reliance on trade and investment to more self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption. Whether China's growth target would be lowered or not is a point of hot debate, Mizuho Bank said in a daily commentary, following Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's remark that communist leaders will accept growth below their official target of "about 7 percent." On Friday, Beijing cut interest rates for a sixth time since November.

CENTRAL BANKS: Central bankers in some of the world's biggest economies are convening this week to discuss key rates and stimulus actions. The U.S. Federal Reserve begins its two-day meeting later on Tuesday amid low expectations for a rate increase as the global economy remains fragile. Bank of Japan policymakers are meeting on Friday amid expectations for signals of more easing.

THE QUOTE: "No one expects the Fed to budge on policy tomorrow," DBS Group Research said in a daily note. Third-quarter U.S. growth data slated for release on Thursday could determine whether the central bank "dares move" next month, it said.

WALL STREET: Stocks closed slightly lower on Monday amid a slew of earnings reports that failed to meet forecasts. The Standard & Poor's 500 dipped 0.2 percent to 2,071.18. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.1 percent to 17,623.05. The Nasdaq composite rose less than 0.1 percent to 5,034.70.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 55 cents to $43.44 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 62 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $43.98 a barrel in New York on Monday. Brent Crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 41 cents to $47.13 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 120.53 yen from 121.06 yen in the previous trading session. The euro rose to $1.1063 from $1.1057.

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