Asian stocks were largely lower by early Wednesday, taking the lead from overnight falls in the United States. In the absence of further development of the US-China trade war, investors appear to be shifting focus to what Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell wants to say Friday at a financial meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Japan's Nikkei ( drops 0.3%. Hong Kong's ) Hang Seng Index ( falls 0.3%. China's ) Shanghai Composite Index ( edged 0.2% lower. South Korea ) Kospi ( was up 0.5%. )
"There is a clear sense that markets have entered a holding pattern" before Powell has to say, wrote Jeffrey Halley, Oanda's senior market analyst for Asia Pacific, in a research note. Investors strongly expect the Fed to cut interest rates in September. The US central bank will also release minutes on Wednesday from its last meeting, when the central bank cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point for the first time since 2008.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi fell 3.8% in Hong Kong. The company reported late Tuesday that sales reached 51.95 billion yuan ($ 7.36 billion) in the second quarter, lower than analysts expected, according to Refinitive. The company posted a net profit of 1.95 billion yuan ($ 277 million) in the quarter – an 87% fall from the previous year. The company guided investors to an adjusted profit that beat expectations.
Competition in the Chinese smartphone market is particularly fierce, and Xiaomi has lost market share to competitors like Huawei.
Later in the day, the Central Bank of India will release the minutes of its meeting in August. The Indian Reserve Bank previously lowered its lending rate to a nine-year low in an effort to support the faltering economy.