Asian markets witnessed mixed trade on 29 October
Bombay Stock Exchange employees at the bourse (Reuters).

Asian markets witnessed mixed trade on 29 October as market players exercised caution ahead of the US Federal Reserve's policy-setting meeting.

Meanwhile, Indian stocks rebounded after the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) repo-rate hike decision.

The Japanese Nikkei finished 0.49% lower or 70.06 points at 14,325.98.

Australia's S&P/ASX finished 0.48% lower or 25.90 points at 5,415.50.

South Korea's Kospi finished 0.18% higher or 3.62 points at 2,051.76.

The Shanghai Composite finished 0.23% lower or 5.01 points to 2,128.86.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was trading 0.36% higher or 82.88 points to 22,889.46.

India's BSE Sensex was trading 1.39% higher or 284.94 points to 20,855.22.

Market participants the world over will be tracking the US Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee meeting on 29-30 October for clues as to the future pace of the Fed's asset-buying programme.

The central bank will put out a statement detailing its monetary policy on 30 October. The Fed's $85bn (£52.7bn, €61.6bn) a month bond-buying stimulus has supported the US economy and markets the world over for a while now.

BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research said in a note to clients: "For fiscal policy, the [recent US government] shutdown and persistent uncertainty has led us to shave 0.5ppt each from 4Q and 1Q14 growth, putting them at 2.0% and 2.8%, respectively. After the sharp rebuke from voters and donors in October, we do not expect another shutdown in mid-January."

"Extraordinary measures will postpone the [US] debt limit until at least April, but potentially as late as July. Under these conditions, a rebound in the data could allow the Fed to taper sooner rather than later. The uncertainty around the economic impact of the recent surge in fiscal uncertainty is still large, and the Fed will likely wait until there is more clarity in the November and December data", BofA added.

Standard Chartered said in a note to clients: "Beyond the US government shutdown-induced volatility, US data has been soft, which could further postpone tapering. We still think that the first reduction would be USD 20bn, as the Fed is unlikely to 'tip-toe', drawing on the lessons of the September 'miss'. Tapering could be quick, from the current $85bn to zero over a few meetings. We still think the next QE move will be a reduction not an increase."

In India, the benchmark index entered positive territory, crossing the psychologically important 20,000 mark after the central bank raised its policy repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.75%, in line with market consensus.

In addition, the RBI rolled back the liquidity tightening measures introduced in July, reducing the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate by 25 basis points to 8.75%. The MSF has been the effective policy rate since July.

"Monetary and fiscal policy cannot both be accommodative at the same time and have inflation where it is. Hence, the RBI has taken on some of the burden. It's telling you that though growth is so weak, they are still tightening essentially because they see fiscal slippage as a potential risk," said Radhika Rao, economist at DBS.

Elsewhere, in South Korea, government data showed that the country's current account surplus fell to a seasonally adjusted $4.97bn in September, from $7.7bn in August.

Earlier, in Australia, the local currency shed 0.6% to 0.9510 to the US dollar following Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) chief Glenn Stevens' comments.

Speaking at Citi's 5th Annual Australian and New Zealand Investment Conference, Governor Stevens said the Australian dollar remained too high and warned that it would be "materially lower at some point in the future".

Wall Street Mixed

On Wall Street, most indices ended marginally lower ahead of the Fed's FOMC meeting.

The Dow finished 1.35 points lower at 15,568.93 on 28 October. The blue-chip index is within 1% of its record high.

The S&P 500 closed 2.34 points higher at 1,762.11, after striking a record high of 1,765.01 in intra-day trading.

The Nasdaq ended 3.23 points lower at 3,940.13.

Company Stock Movements

In Mumbai, the country's largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India jumped 6.2% on news that its July-September net profit had tripled from a year earlier, beating estimates.

India's second largest lender by assets ICICI Bank shot up 4.6%. The nation's largest lender by assets State Bank of India added 1.8%.

In Tokyo, telecoms major KDDI inched up 0.8% after it reported a record-high operating profit for the first half of the financial year, beating estimates.

Apple suppliers Taiyo Yuden and Murata Manufacturing lost 2.5% and 1.9% respectively after the iPhone-maker said it sold fewer than expected phones in the July to September third quarter.

In Shanghai, Industrial Bank shot up 2.6% while Minsheng Bank gained 1.6%.

Railway equipment manufacturers China CSR and CSR Corp lost over 4% each.

In Sydney, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) gained 1.7% after it reported an 11% increase in profit for the year ended September 2013, on the back of cost cutting and lower bad debts.

ANZ will dole out a final dividend of A$0.91 a share, bringing the payout for the year to A$1.64, a 13% increase over the previous year.

Mining stocks were pulled down by lower Chinese iron-ore futures. Whitehaven Coal dropped 5% while Fortescue Metals shed about 2%.

In Seoul, Apple supplier SK Hynix fell 2.3% as investors took profits. The world's second-largest maker of memory chips warned on 29 October that chip shipments could drop in the fourth quarter following a fire at its Chinese plant.