Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading lower in the early deals on Thursday, following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street after the Federal Reserve announced its widely expected decision to leave interest rates unchanged and said that inflation is close to its target, signalling that an interest rate hike is likely in June. The focus was turning to talks beginning Thursday between US and Chinese officials in Beijing aimed at resolving festering trade tensions. The Japanese market is closed for the Constitution Day holiday. Among the other Asian markets, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Shanghai, and Taiwan are also in negative territory. Bucking the trend, Malaysia is higher.
Hang Seng dropped 509.9 points or 1.66% to 30,213.98, Jakarta Composite declined 112.53 points or 1.87% to 5,899.71, Taiwan Weighted dipped 70.61 points or 0.66% to 10,548.20, KOSPI Index slipped 11.37 points or 0.45% to 2,494.24, Straits Times contracted 56.72 points or 1.57% to 3,558.56, and Shanghai Composite down by 4.86 points or 0.16% to 3,076.32.
On the flip side, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI was up by 4.52 points or 0.24% to 1,856.55.