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AKIPRESS.COM - Asian stock markets mostly drifted lower Wednesday ahead of the outcome of the Federal Reserve's first policy meeting under its new chief, ABC News reported.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was down 0.5% at 14,335.81 and China's Shanghai Composite Index sank 0.9% to 2,007.97. South Korea's Kospi was down 0.2% to 1,937.30 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.2% to 21,549.49.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.1 percent to 5,350.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is scheduled to issue a statement and hold a press conference Wednesday after the end of its two-day policy meeting. It is the central bank's first policy meeting since Janet Yellen replaced Ben Bernanke as governor.
Most analysts expect the Federal Reserve to continue to reduce its monetary stimulus at the speed it has already set, trimming its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion. It is also expected to revise its economic forecasts.
In Europe and on Wall Street, stock markets were boosted Tuesday by relief over Western sanctions on Russia after Crimea's annexation of the Ukrainian region.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.7% to 1,872.25. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.6% to 16,336.19. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.3% to 4,333.31.
In energy markets, U.S. crude for April delivery declined 18 cents to $99.52 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.62 to $99.70 on Tuesday on expectations that the solid U.S. economic outlook would increase oil demand.
In currency markets, the euro fell to $1.3920 from $1.3933 late Tuesday. The dollar rose to 101.48 yen from 101.43 yen.