While Asian stock market indices were tracing a mixed pattern, China's Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.15% at 2,868.55 on Wednesday, 16 March at 5.59am GMT. This followed a positive close on Wall Street overnight while traders remained cautious over the outcome of the US Federal Reserve policy meeting, scheduled for Wednesday.
Even though the Fed is expected to not make any changes to its interest rates, analysts and traders will be closely watching the outcome of the meeting to get hints on the road ahead. The latest policy statement of the Fed will be released at 6pm GMT, and Janet Yellen, chairperson of the Fed, will hold a press conference at 6.30pm GMT.
Mark Matthews, head of research for Asia at Julius Baer said: "No one appears to be making bets in front of the Fed, with just a little profit-taking. For a knee-jerk up, the Fed has to say 'no rate rises for a very long time.' On the other hand, with any inkling of more tightening, the best result is flat. That leaves the risk-reward relatively poor in the short-term."
Indices in the rest of Asia traded as follows on 16 March at 6.25am GMT:
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||20,212.56||Down||0.38%|
Meanwhile, overnight on Tuesday (15 March), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,251.53, up 0.13%, while the FTSE 100 closed lower by 0.56% at 6,139.97.
Among commodities, some analysts opined that oil prices will determine the movement of tock markets. Evan Lucas, market strategist from IG, said, "Oil will remain a leading commodity and its movements will govern equity markets in the short term". WTI crude oil was trading 1.51% higher at $36.89 (£26.11, €33.25) a barrel, while Brent was up 1.21% at $39.21 a barrel on 16 March at 6.33am GMT.