Asia markets mostly lower, dollar hit by dovish Fed

Hong Kong: Asian markets mostly headed lower Thursday and the dollar retreated after the Federal Reserve said any rises in US interest rates would be slow.

The losses come despite another advance on Wall Street, while investors are keeping track of Greece´s troubled bailout talks as Europe´s leaders are warned of the dire consequences of failing to reach a deal.

Tokyo sank 1.13 percent, or 228.45 points, to close at 19,990.82, while Hong Kong shed 0.22 percent, or 59.13 points, to close at 26,694.66.

Shanghai tumbled 3.67 percent, or 182.54 points, to 4,785.35 on liquidity fears as several new firms prepare to list while profit-takers also moved in after a surge in the index over the past year that has seen it pile on about 140 percent.

Sydney fell 1.26 percent, or 70.5 points, to close at 5,524.9 but Seoul ended 0.34 percent higher, adding 7.02 points to 2,041.88.

After a two-day meeting the Fed on Wednesday held off hiking rates but altered its outlook for future rises, expecting a lower upward curve than previously forecast.

Afterwards, Fed boss Janet Yellen said its first interest rate hike in nine years would likely come “later this year”.

However, she added: “My colleagues and I would like to see more decisive evidence that a moderate pace of economic growth will be sustained, so the conditions in the labour market will continue to improve and inflation will move back to two percent.”

The prospect of lower borrowing costs boosted US shares. The Dow rose 0.17 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.19 percent and the Nasdaq put on 0.18 percent.

“Yellen was dovish in the press conference,” David Buckle, London-based head of quantitative research at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, told Bloomberg News.

“She was at pains to point out that monetary policy will likely remain highly accommodative for a long time after the first rate rise.”

In other markets:

— Mumbai rose 1.06 percent, or 283.17 points, to end at 27,115.83.
Reliance Industries rose 5.41 percent to 981.45 rupees, mining major Coal India fell 0.92 percent to 394.10 rupees.

— Bangkok dropped 0.45 percent, or 6.75 points, to 1,508.04.
Coal producer Banpu was flat at 26.00 baht, while Airports of Thailand plunged 3.15 percent, or 10.00 baht, to 307.00 baht.

— Singapore closed down 0.77 percent, or 25.49 points, to 3,300.42.
United Overseas Bank gained 0.04 percent to Sg$23.00 while public transport firm ComfortDelGro eased 0.94 percent to Sg$3.18.

— Jakarta ended down 0.005 percent, or 0.254 points, at 4,945.50.
Heavy equipment provider United Tractors gained 1.75 percent to 20,350 rupiah, while lender Bank Negara Indonesia slipped 2.21 percent to 5,525 rupiah.

— Malaysia´s key index slipped 0.51 percent, or 8.74 points, to 1,718.12.
AirAsia surged 9.15 percent to 1.67 ringgit, and British American Tobacco rose 1.35 percent to 60.16 ringgit. Gaming resorts firm Genting lost 2.50 percent to close at 8.19 ringgit.

— Taipei rose 0.31 percent, or 28.54 points, to 9,218.37.
Hon Hai Precision Industry closed 0.21 percent higher at Tw$94.6 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.35 percent lower at Tw$142.0.

— Wellington fell 0.51 percent, or 29.56 points, to 5,749.71.
Air New Zealand slumped 9.62 percent to NZ$2.395 after rival Jetstar announced a domestic expansion, while Chorus closed down 2.70 percent at NZ$2.88.

— Manila closed 0.94 percent, or 70.55 points, higher at 7,606.86.
Universal Robina added 2.86 percent to 197.50 pesos and Ayala Corp was up 2.50 percent at 799.50 pesos but Globe Telecom fell 0.61 percent to 2,600 pesos.