Japan's outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Asian markets rose modestly in early trading Wednesday, as traders awaited news from the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the day.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.15% inched up 0.1%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index HSI, -0.24% was about flat. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.23% was little changed, and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.86% fell 0.7%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.07% advanced 0.1%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +1.12%, Singapore STI, +0.44% and Malaysia FBMKLCI, +1.31% gained, while Indonesian stocks JAKIDX, -0.74% were flat. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.93% rose 1%.
On Tuesday, a World Trade Organization panel found the Trump administration’s tariffs against $200 billion of Chinese goods are illegal, though the organization has little recourse to take against the U.S.
New data Wednesday showed Japan’s exports plunged in 14.8% in August, but that was still better than the previous month and beat analysts’ expectations. Exports to China grew 5.1% while exports to the U.S. sank 21.3%.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet officially resigned Wednesday, clearing the way for Yoshihide Suga to be confirmed as the country’s next prime minister.
“Asian markets already have a quiet look about them, as they remain in wait-and-see mode ahead of the latest FOMC rate decision,” Jeffrey Halley, senior Asia-Pacific market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to signal on Wednesday that its interest-rate policy will remain unchanged and close to zero through the end of 2023. The Fed will release a policy statement at 2 p.m. Eastern, and Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference a half hour later.
Stocks made modest gains Tuesday on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.00% rose 2.27 points to finish at 27,995.60, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.52% gained 17.66 points, or 0.5%, to trade at 3,401.20, marking its third straight increase. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +1.20% finished up 133.67 points, or 1.2%, at 11,190.32, logging back-to-back gains.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude CLV20, +1.75% rose 68 cents to $38.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude BRNX20, +1.50% , the international standard, gained 65 cents to $41.18 a barrel.
The U.S. dollar USDJPY, -0.14% dipped to 105.28 Japanese yen.