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Asian shares mixed after Fed raises interest rates

Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

Trader Mark Muller works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, March 21, 2018. U.S. stocks are mixed Wednesday morning as investors wait for news on interest rates from the Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

BANGKOK (AP) -- Shares were mixed in Asia early Thursday after U.S. stock indexes finished with small losses following the Federal Reserve's hike in interest rates.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.5 percent to 21,488.07 while the Kospi in South Korea added 0.5 percent to 2,498.17. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.5 percent to 31,267.45 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.8 percent to 3,254.31. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.2 percent to 5,935.80. Shares were mixed in Southeast Asia.

WALL STREET: Major U.S. stock indexes fell Wednesday while smaller companies fared better. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates, as investors expected, and said it could raise rates at a quicker pace next year. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 250 points, but gave it all up as new Fed Chairman Jerome Powell addressed reporters. The Fed said the U.S. economy and the job market continued to improve over the last two months. It still expects to raise interest rates three times this year, and said it might raise rates three more times next year instead of two. The S&P 500 index slid 0.2 percent to 2,711.93. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.2 percent to 24,682.31. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.3 percent to 7,345.29.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "The market will have to get to know Jerome Powell a little bit and will have to test his credibility as Fed chairman," said Brent Schutte, the chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management. "I would imagine the bar is higher for him in the shorter term because he is not a trained economist," unlike Janet Yellen and other predecessors.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 5 cents to $65.22 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.63, or 2.6 percent, to $65.17 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 3 cents to $69.04 per barrel. It added $2.05, or 3 percent, to $69.47 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 105.68 yen from 106.05 yen. The euro rose to $1.2364 from $1.2240.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay contributed to this report. He can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay