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Asia300

Nikkei Asia300 Index drops as investors await Fed policy

Market participants expect U.S. central bank to detail plans to reduce bond holdings

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan fell Tuesday as investors await the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy review meeting.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index declined 0.3% to 1,323.13.

The day's losses reflected caution ahead of the start of the two-day Fed meeting later Tuesday. The central bank is expected to maintain status quo on rates, and investors are looking for indications on whether the authority will go for an increase at its December meeting. Also, many market participants are betting that the Fed would start scaling back its massive balance sheet next month.

"As the Fed begins to roll off the balance sheet, the longer-term trajectory and ultimate composition of the balance sheet remain unclear," Nomura said in a note. "In addition to the uncertainty surrounding the longer-term size and composition of the balance sheet, there is some uncertainty surrounding how markets will react to the announcement and initial roll-off."

U.S. bond yields have climbed in recent sessions, with 10-year borrowing cost reaching its highest level in a month on Monday. Rising U.S. bond yields potentially threaten to spur outflows from regional markets.

Sisram Medical, a unit of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, fell to HK$8.12 on its debut in Hong Kong from the company's initial public offering price of HK$8.88. The medical lasers maker had raised about HK$689 million ($88 million) from the IPO. Shares of Fosun International dropped 0.7%.

Transport operator ComfortDelGro Corp. slumped 2.9% in Singapore, extending losses from Monday, after its unit unexpectedly lost a bid to manage a part of the city-state's train network.

Guangzhou Automobile Group rose 4.5% in Hong Kong. The company on Monday announced a three-year agreement with Tencent Holdings to jointly develop vehicles powered by internet-related technologies. The two also plan to develop an auto-related e-commerce platform. Shares of Tencent slipped 0.5%, easing from record highs.

In Mumbai, natural gas transmission company GAIL (India) climbed 4.9% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight," saying benign gas prices and favorable polices will support gas demand. The brokerage expects earnings at gas infrastructure companies and distributors to rise more than 60% in financial years 2017 through 2020.

Tata Motors, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, added 4.6% to 423.90 rupees. Tata Group holding company Tata Sons bought shares worth 20 billion rupees ($310 million) in the automaker at 421.39 rupees apiece, Reuters reported.

Alliance Global Group advanced 1.9% in the Philippines after the food and beverage company said it would repurchase up to 5 billion pesos ($90 million) worth of common shares within two-years starting Sep. 20.

In country indices compiled by Nikkei, China lost 0.5%, South Korea advanced 0.3%, and India ended little changed. The gauge for Hong Kong fell 0.6% and that of Taiwan lost 0.4%.

The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies fell 0.5%.

-- Nimesh Vora

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