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Asian Stocks Fall as U.S. Federal Reserve Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

Asian stocks fell in morning trade on Friday

Investing.com - Asian stocks fell in morning trade on Friday as U.S. markets closed mixed overnight after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged as expected.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.3% to close at 2,806.83, and the Nasdaq Composite saw declines of 0.5% to 7,530.88 by the closing bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, on the other hand, climbed 10.92 points to close at 26,192.22.

The Fed, as expected, kept the federal funds rate in a range of 2 to 2.25% and reaffirmed expectations for a December rate hike, as the central bank maintained its confidence that "economic activity has been rising at a strong rate." GDP growth has averaged 3.3% for the first three quarters in 2018 and markets projected growth for the final three-month to be around 3%.

So far, the Fed has raised rates three times this year and is widely expected to do so again next month.

"The Fed meeting outcome and its statement did not produce major surprises, but it managed to reinforce views that a rate hike is coming in December and this tempered equities," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.

"The Fed statement came after a steep surge in equities and gave the markets an opportunity to sell into the rally."

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were down 1.1% and 0.4% respectively by 9:55 PM ET (01:55 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 2.3%.

Although not a major directional driver, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that "all private companies and private entrepreneurs should feel totally reassured and devote themselves to seeking development.”

"Private enterprises and private entrepreneurs belong to our own family,” he added.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded 1.0% lower, while South Korea’s KOSPI slipped 0.3%.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 declined 0.4%.

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