Asian shares lower on Fed easing views, U.S. budget pact may support

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Investing.com - Asian stock markets fell on Wednesday, taking a cue from Wall Street's growing uncertainty over when the Federal Reserve will announce plans to taper the pace of its USD85 billion in monthly bond purchases.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.24% while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.6% and the Nikkei 225 off 0.53% at the end of morning trade. In Australia, the S&P ASX 200 fell 0.1%, the index's fifth consecutive decline.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.33%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.32%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.20%.

A surprisingly strong November jobs report sparked talk the Federal Reserve may announce plans to taper the pace of its USD85 billion in monthly bond purchases at its Dec. 17-18 monetary policy meeting.

Friday data revealed that the U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs in November, beating expectations for an 180,000 increase.

But on Monday, renewed uncertainty as to whether or not the U.S. central bank will wait until early 2014 after reviewing more data before deciding on the fate of its stimulus program sent stock prices falling.

While a decision to wind down asset purchases would signal the economy is improving, it would also take away a monetary crutch that has supported stock prices for over a year now.

Possibly lifting shares on Wednesday in the United States was news of a deal to avert another shutdown of the government.

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, a Republican, and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray,a Democrat, announced a budget agreement that will set discretionary spending levels for two years and allocate about $85 billion in spending savings to modestly cut the budget deficit.

A stop-gap spending bill in place now funds the federal government until Jan. 15.

At the close of European trade Tuesday, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.76%, France's CAC 40 fell 1.04%, while Germany's DAX 30 fell 0.88%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished down 0.55%.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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