Asian equity benchmarks are trading lower in the early deals on Thursday, tracking the lackluster cues from Wall Street following the FOMC rate decision and the fall in crude oil prices to a three-month low overnight. Investors are also digesting mixed corporate earnings results. Overnight, the US Federal Reserve announced its widely expected decision to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at quarter to half a percent. While the Fed statement was largely unchanged from the previous meeting, it did say near-term risks to the economic outlook have diminished. Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average fell after Wall Street ended lower and a stronger yen soured sentiment, while most investors stayed cautious amid the two-day Bank Of Japan policy meeting that ends Friday.
Nikkei 225 dropped 186.72 points or 1.12% to 16,478.10, Hang Seng dipped 95.66 points or 0.43% to 22,123.33, KOSPI Index declined 9.84 points or 0.49% to 2,015.21, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI slipped 8.73 points or 0.52 % to 1,654.83, Taiwan Weighted decreased 15.62 points or 0.17% to 9,047.77, Straits Times contracted 24.44 points or 0.83% to 2,917.05, Jakarta Composite crumbled 7.22 points or 0.14% to 5,267.14, and Shanghai Composite was down by 18.41 points or 0.62% to 2,973.59.