Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Wednesday morning tracking overnight gains on Wall Street, but activity was subdued ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision. The Nikkei rose 0.3 percent to 19,953.33 in midmorning trade. The index is expected to be confined to a narrow range ahead of the Fed’s two-day policy meeting that ends on Wednesday, at which the U.S. central bank is expected to raise interest rates.
“The market is waiting for a clue. While there is another hike expected this year (after the June hike), a recent run of soft inflation data has made the market wonder if the Fed will go for it,” said Masaru Hamasaki, head of market & investment information department at Amundi Japan. The U.S central bank is scheduled to release its decision at 2 p.m EDT (1800 GMT) with a news conference to follow from Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
Economists polled by Reuters overwhelmingly see the U.S. central bank hiking its benchmark rate to a target range of 1 to 1.25 percent this week, though expectations for further rate increases are fading. Some tech shares rebounded as U.S. technology stocks bounced back overnight. Kyocera Corp surged 3.2 percent and TDK Corp gained 1.1 percent.
Ono Pharmaceutical Co jumped 5.4 percent and recorded the second highest turnover after the company said it will repurchase up to 20 million shares, representing 3.8 percent of outstanding. It also said it plans to retire up to 50 million shares of its common stock, including repurchased shares between June 14 and Sept. 29, retirement date on Oct. 31.
Conversely, Toshiba Corp stumbled five percent partly on profit-taking, while sentiment was soured by a Mainichi Shimbun report that the company will delay filing of its annual financial report which is due the end of the month. The broader Topix was flat at 1,593.68 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was also flat at 14,186.41.