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Asian stocks mostly lower amid US, Japan central banks wait

Posted September 19

FILE - This July 16, 2013, file photo, shows a Wall Street street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange. Global stock markets started the new trading week strongly Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, as investors appeared to put last week's jitters behind them as they awaited the outcome of the latest policy meetings of the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan later this week. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

— Asian shares were mostly lower Tuesday amid a nervous wait for what might happen to interest rates from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fluctuated and was up 0.4 percent at 16,579.19 in the morning session. Japanese markets were closed Monday for a national holiday. South Korea's Kospi was little changed but inched down less than 0.1 percent to 2,014.75 in early trading. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.3 percent to 23,486.45. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.2 percent to 3,020.96.

FED FACTOR: The Federal Reserve will meet later Tuesday and announce its latest decision on interest rates the following day. Analysts say the Fed is unlikely to immediately raise interest rates, but they have more questions about the Bank of Japan's plans, whose options include a range of stimulus proposals.

BANK OF JAPAN: The Bank of Japan begins a two-day policy board meeting Tuesday, in the middle of national holidays on Monday and Thursday in what this nation calls Silver Week. The central bank could deepen negative interest rates that it announced earlier this year.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 3.63 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 18,120.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.04 points to 2,139.12. The Nasdaq composite fell 9.54 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,235.03.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 23 cents to $43.63 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 10 cents to $45.85 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 101.88 yen from 102.05 yen late Monday in Asia. The euro rose to $1.1177 from $1.1165.

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