Investing.com - Shares in Tokyo gained by the break on Wednesday, but China dropped as investors across the region tuned attention to the upcoming Federal Reserve policy announcement.
The Fed is expected to adopt a cautious tone after a spate of mixed economic data points to an uneven recovery. However, expectations remain for a rate hike at some point this year.
The Nikkei 225 rose 0.38%, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.82% andthe neighboring Hang Seng index eased 0.53%.
In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.10%.
Overnight, stocks on the U.S. equities markets were mixed on Tuesday, amid a flurry of earnings report and ahead of Wednesday's release of U.S. GDP growth for the first quarter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Composite index edged up to reverse Monday's losses, while the NASDAQ Composite index closed slightly lower tamped down by a volatile day of trading in Apple Inc (NASDAQ:NASDAQ:AAPL) stock.
Overnight, U.S. president Barack Obama and Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe indicated they are deeply confident that a comprehensive trade agreement between the U.S. and nearly a dozen Asian-Pacific nations can be reached.
On Tuesday, the Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index slumped to 95.2 in April, well below the forecast of 102.5 and down from 101.4 in March.
Inflation rate expectations were the lowest since February 2007.
The report said the deterioration in confidence was due to the recent lackluster performance of the labor market and apprehension about the short-term outlook.
The data came as investors were looking ahead to Wednesday’s Federal Reserve rate statement for further indications on the timing of a first rate hike by the central bank.
Recent disappointing reports on employment, retail sales and industrial production have prompted investors to scale back expectations for higher interest rates.
Earlier Tuesday data showed that U.S. home prices rose in February from a year earlier.
The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index rose by an annualized 5.0% in February, above forecasts for a reading of 4.7% and following a gain of 4.6% in January.
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