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Asian Equities Under Pressure Ahead of Fed

Most Asian markets eased in afternoon trade on Wednesday – Most Asian markets eased in afternoon trade on Wednesday after the conclusion of a historic U.S.-North Korea summit, as investors shift their focus to the upcoming Federal Reserve policy decision that may offer some clues on future rate hikes.

Investors are now looking toward to a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) that starts Wednesday for cues following the conclusion of a historic meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The two leaders signed a document that said the U.S. President would provide “security guarantees” to Kim in exchange for the North Korean leader’s “unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

North Korea’s state media Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim said the U.S. President offered to ease sanctions against his regime, a claim that contrasts with the U.S. president’s earlier comments that the economic strictures would remain.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates for the second time this year and markets are waiting to see if there will be a third and a fourth hike in 2018.

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were down 0.6% and 0.9% at 1:30AM ET (05:30 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.6%.

China's ZTE (HK:0763) Corp’s trading resumed in Hong Kong on Wednesday and plunged as much as 38% after it agreed to pay up to $1.4 billion in penalties to the U.S. government.

The telecommunication company also agreed to overhaul its management in order to resume business after a two-month hiatus.

ZTE would pay $1.4 billion in total penalties, including a lump sum payment of $1 billion and a suspended penalty of $400 million, according to a filing, which added that the company would replace the entire boards of both parent ZTE and subsidiary ZTE Kangxun, as well as terminating all current members of senior leadership at both companies.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.4%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 traded 0.6% lower in afternoon trade.

Toshiba Corp. (T:6502) surged as much as 7% after the company said it would buy back up to 700 billion yen of its own shares, while Nintendo(T:7974)’s shares tumbled following a disappointing presentation held at E3 2018.

South Korean and Indonesian markets are closed for a holiday.

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