Markets Right Now: Asian stocks fall on central banks watch

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Latest on financial markets (all times local):

12:00 a.m.

Asian stocks are lower across the board Monday ahead of policy decisions by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan as well as major earnings reports and economic data from Japan and China expected later in the week.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dipped 0.8 per cent to 17,439.62 in morning trading. South Korea’s Kospi inched down 0.2 per cent to 2,012.52. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5 per cent to 21,362.76, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.3 per cent to 2,921.16. Trading was closed in Australia for ANZAC Day, a public holiday.

Central bank policy meetings in Japan and the U.S. are the focus of investors’ attention. It is unclear whether additional monetary easing is in store, but the meetings may provide indicators for what can be expected on interest rates in the future.

“While most of the focus will centre on possible policy action from the BOJ, traders will be looking for forward guidance from both the Fed and RBNZ. It is likely we are in for another very bumpy ride this week,” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at Oanda in Singapore.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 60 cents to $43.13 a barrel in New York. It lost 55 cents to $43.18 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 50 cents to $44.61.

In currency markets, the dollar gained to 111.18 yen from 109.48 yen late Friday in Asia. The euro fell to $1.1243 from $1.1303.