Asia markets traded mixed on Wednesday, with markets in Australia and India are closed for holidays.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.16%, while the Shanghai composite was up 0.14%. Singapore’s Straits Times index jumped 0.85%, and over in South Korea, the KOSPI rose 0.19%.
Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.14%.
The U.S. equities tumbled overnight in another volatile session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.19%, to 34,297.73, the S&P 500 lost 1.22%, to 4,356.45 and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.28%, to 13,539.30.
Oil prices eased on Wednesday as geopolitical tensions and Federal Reserve update occupied investor focus.
Investors booked profits ahead of an update from the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, although fears over tighter supply amid tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East capped losses. NATO putting forces on standby and the U.S. putting troops on heightened alert in response to a build-up of Russian forces along Ukraine border.
U.S. crude and distillate stocks fell while gasoline inventories rose for the week ended Jan. 21, with crude inventories declining by 872,000 barrels, according to market sources citing API figures.
The Brent now traded at $87.93 per barrel, and the U.S. crude futures traded at $85.19 per barrel.
Both benchmarks rose more than 2% overnight, with the Brent futures ends at $88.20 a barrel, while the WTI crude oil prices closed to $85.60 per barrel.
In the bond market, investors largely held tight with a Fed decision later today. The U.S. yields on two-year notes at 1.0273%, holding onto gains made earlier this month, while the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was 1.780%, a little below the two-year high of 1.9% hit last week.
The dollar index against a basket of major currencies was mostly unchanged, was flat at 95.951, after climbing to 96.273 on Tuesday, the highest since Jan. 7.
Gold prices jumped to a more than two-month high overnight, with spot gold hitting its highest since Nov. 19. On Wednesday, spot gold was last at $1,847.30. U.S. gold futures were down 0.2% at $1,847.60.
Spot silver was down 0.5% at $23.77 an ounce. Palladium shed 0.3% to $2,181.50 and platinum was unchanged at $1,025.80.
Asian share markets got off to a cautious start on Wednesday, affected by volatility in global markets, concerns about Fed tightening in the face of higher inflation and uncertainty about events in Russia and Ukraine.
The Fed is due to end a two-day policy meeting later in the global day, with market players anxiously awaiting further clues on the timing and pace of interest rate hikes, as well as how the central bank will shrink its more-than $8 trillion holdings of Treasuries and mortgage debt.
Growing tensions as Russian troops massed on Ukraine's border also have added to a risk-averse environment for investors. Western leaders stepped up preparations for any Russian military action in Ukraine while Moscow said it was watching with great concern after 8,500 U.S. troops were put on alert to deploy to Europe in the event of an escalation.
The IMF in its latest forecast, has cut its world economic growth forecast for 2022 as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, citing weaker prospects for the U.S. and China along with persistent inflation. The 2022 global growth forecast was shaved by 0.5 percentage point to 4.4% from an estimated 5.9% growth in 2021.