Hong Kong: Asian stocks held steady on Wednesday ahead of the conclusion of a two-day US Federal Reserve policy meeting in which Chairman Ben Bernanke is widely expected to announce further steps to stimulate a flagging economic recovery.
The Fed is expected to announce plans to intervene in the bond market to push long-term interest rates -- already near historic lows -- even lower in a move known as Operation Twist.
Stocks on Wall Street drifted lower overnight as earlier enthusiasm about an euro zone debt crisis resolution faded although Apple Inc shares hit an all-time high. European debt worries were tempered to some extent after Greece promised further cuts to its public sector before a second conference call with international lenders that Athens must persuade to extend more loans to avoid bankruptcy next month.
That relief helped the beleaguered euro strengthen against the dollar, having fully recovered following a downgrade of Italy's credit rating. The euro rose more than a cent to USD 1.3711, from a low of USD 1.3591 on Tuesday.
The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index of stocks was trading 0.1 percent lower in early trade. Japan's Nikkei was little changed and was expected to stick to a narrow range through the day.
In commodity markets, spot gold hovered around USD 1,800 an ounce after a 1.4 percent rally in the previous session.
Brent crude futures held steady around USD 110.50 a barrel ahead of the Fed meeting.
First Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 08:58