Investing.com -- Most Asian stocks moved in a flat-to-low range on Wednesday before a widely expected interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve due later in the day, while Australian shares rallied on weaker-than-expected inflation data.
Optimism over more stimulus measures in China also appeared to have run dry, with local stocks seeing a degree of profit taking after stellar gains in the prior session.
The Fed remained the main point of focus for investors, with the central bank widely expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points later in the day. But uncertainty over the bank’s outlook on future rate hikes kept investors on their toes.
Chinese stocks lead losses amid profit taking
Chinese stocks were among the biggest decliners for the day, as investors locked in some profits after a rally on Tuesday. China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes fell about 0.3% each, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed nearly 1%.
Top Chinese officials had earlier this week signaled that they would roll out more measures to support the economy, which in turn triggered a sharp rally in local shares.
Investors were now holding out for more cues on the promised stimulus measures, after recent data showed that economic growth in the country slowed significantly in the second quarter.
Chipmakers hit by weak SK Hynix results
Asian chipmaking stocks also retreated on Wednesday, following weak second-quarter earnings from South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc (KS: 000660 ). The world’s second-largest memory chips maker logged an operating loss and a sharp drop in revenue, with increased demand for artificial intelligence doing little to offset a broader decline in the industry.
Broader Asian markets were largely muted, with anticipation of the Fed keeping sentiment low. Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a flat open for local stocks, after they saw a heavy dose of profit taking in the past few sessions.
Australian stocks outperform on weak inflation
Australia’s ASX 200 index was the best performer among its peers for the day, rallying 1% to a five-month high.
Easing inflation also points to lesser pressure on the Australian economy, which could see the country potentially avoid a recession this year.
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