Asian markets fall ahead of Fed meeting, trade talks

Asian markets fall ahead of Fed meeting, trade talks

Hong Kong stocks slide after police again clash with protesters

Asian markets were down in early trading Monday, ahead of an expected rate cut by the Fed later this week.

High-level trade talks between the U.S. and China are also scheduled to resume this week for the first time since early May, but expectations of a major breakthrough are low.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.36% slipped 0.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -1.20% slid 1.3%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.14% declined 0.2%, while South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -1.51% tumbled 1.7%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.03% , Singapore STI, -0.63% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.54% all fell, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.57% bucked the regional trend, rising 0.2%.

Among individual stocks, SoftBank 9984, +3.35% gained in Tokyo trading, while Sony 6758, -1.70% and Hitachi 6501, -2.92% fell. In Hong Kong, real estate companies sank, led by Link Real Estate Development 823, -3.58% and New World Development 17, -3.77% , as police again clashed with protesters in ongoing street demonstrations. Insurer AIA Group 1299, -2.02% also dropped. Samsung 005930, -2.01% and SK Hynix 000660, -2.38% declined in South Korea, while Beach Energy BPT, +1.46% rose in Australia.

U.S. stocks were pushed to record heights and expectations have been growing about a U.S. interest rate cut. A government report on Friday also showed U.S. economic growth slowed in the spring, but it was still better than economists expected.

The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.74% rose 22.19 points, or 0.7%, to 3,025.86 and passed its prior record set on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.19% gained 51.47, or 0.2%, to 27,192.45, and the Nasdaq composite COMP, +1.11% also set a record after jumping 91.67 points, or 1.1%, to 8,330.21.

The European Central Bank earlier this week held its key interest rate steady, but it made clear that more stimulus is on the way. The Bank of Japan starts a two-day policy board meeting Monday, but expectations are for the central bank to keep rates unchanged.

In the United States, investors are all but certain the Fed will cut its benchmark short-term rate on Wednesday, likely by a quarter of a percentage point from its current range of 2.25% to 2.50%.

Weighing on regional investor sentiments is the dispute between the U.S and China, locked in a trade war over American allegations that Beijing is using predatory practices, including outright cybertheft, to challenge U.S. technological dominance.

“Trade talks and Fed policy actions will be the main events,” for this week, according to a market report by Nomura.

Benchmark U.S. oil CLU19, -0.18% fell 8 cents to $56.12 a barrel. It rose 18 cents to $56.20 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude BRNV19, -0.36% , the international standard, dipped 19 cents to $63.18 a barrel.

The dollar USDJPY, -0.08% fell to 108.50 Japanese yen from 108.67 yen on Friday.

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