Asian Stocks Slide as Investors Await Bank of Japan, Fed Minutes

  • Bank of Japan to release policy decision on Thursday
  • Fed meeting minutes due as inflation data bolsters hike case

Traders snuffed out an early rally in Asian stocks, sending the benchmark index lower before the end of a Bank of Japan policy meeting. Investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve after U.S. inflation data bolstered the case for higher interest rates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1 percent to 131.69 at 1:48 p.m. London time. Cnooc Ltd. led energy companies lower, while consumer discretionary companies advanced. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid on Tuesday as data showed consumer prices excluding food and fuel rose 0.2 percent in October, matching September’s figure, and in line with economist forecasts. The Fed releases minutes from its last meeting Wednesday, while the BOJ gives a policy statement on Thursday.

“The Fed minutes will definitely be focused on tonight,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty Ltd. in Sydney. “There’s now an assumption that they are going to make a move in December. The bigger question now is whether they will be able to be as gently paced in their tightening as they plan to be as they monitor wage pressures.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific gauge has rallied 8.8 percent from its September low, even as traders boosted the odds of a U.S. rate increase in December to 66 percent. As the BOJ begins its two-day meeting, all 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict no change to already-record stimulus, despite a report Monday showing the economy slipped back into recession. Last month, 44 percent of economists said the BOJ would add to easing on Oct. 30. Japan’s Topix index closed little changed Wednesday.

South Korea’s Kospi index closed little changed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.3 percent and New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index slumped 1.5 percent, while Taiwan’s Taiex Index sank 0.9 percent.

The Hang Seng Index slipped 0.3 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1 percent. Citic Securities Co., whose president and senior executives have been investigated for insider trading during the June market rout, jumped 3.3 percent after the company said its chairman will retire and the parent will appoint a new board director.

Wynn Macau Ltd. lost 3.1 percent and Sands China Ltd. retreated 3.4 percent in Hong Kong trading after Macau’s chief executive forecast casino revenue would sink to 200 billion patacas ($25 billion) next year, the lowest since 2010.

Poly Real Estate Group Co. rose 6.3 percent and Huafa Industrial Co. gained 1.4 percent after a report showed China house prices increased in 27 cities in October.

E-mini futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent after the underlying equity gauge failed to add to a rebound after its worst week since August last week. Separate data Tuesday showed factory output increased in October for the first time in three months.

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