Asian stocks higher as Fed, Bank of Japan in focus

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) " Asian stock markets were moderately higher on Monday as investors awaited the outcome from the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan policy meetings later this week.

KEEPING SCORE: South Korea's Kospi added 0.6 percent to 2,011.84 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.8 percent to 23,529.37. China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6 percent to 3,021.02. But Australia's S&P/ASX was flat at 5,294.80. Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore and other Southeast Asia were mostly higher. Japan was closed for a holiday.

ANALYST'S QUOTE: "World markets appear to be taking this week's Fed meeting seriously. While the Fed may not go as far as lifting its rate this week, it remains possible that it could move to a more explicit tightening bias," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

CENTRAL BANK ACTIONS: Investors do not expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates when its policymakers end the two-day meeting on Wednesday. But they will scrutinize its statement for implications about the future rate hike. The Bank of Japan is expected to expand its monetary easing when they meet Tuesday. Some analysts believe the Bank of Japan may increase asset purchases up to 100 trillion yen a year from the current 80 trillion yen a year, or take its negative policy rate to minus 0.3 percent from minus 0.1 percent.

WALL STREET: U.S stocks closed moderately lower on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 88.68 points, or 0.5 percent, to 18,123.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8.10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,139.16 and the Nasdaq composite fell 5.12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,244.57.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 79 cents to $43.82 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 76 cents to $46.53 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 102.05 yen from 102.28 yen while the euro gained to $1.1165 from $1.1158.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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