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Shares in Asia narrowly mixed as investors eye U.S. Fed

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Investing.com -

Investing.com - Shares in Asia were narrowly mixed on Tuesday in thin trade with central bank minutes supporting Sydney, but other markets awaiting a widely expected Federal Reserve rate hike this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.18%, while the Shanghai Composite esed 0.12%. The Nikkei 225 dropped 0.80%.

The minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's December meeting noted there was still scope to ease further from a record low 2.0% with inflation levels offering room.

Also in Australia, the house price index for the third quarter rose 2.0% as expected.

Overnight, U.S. stocks were relatively flat on Monday, as investors proceeded cautiously ahead of a likely interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve at the completion of its two-day meeting later this week.

The Federal Open Market Committee is widely expected to approve its first rate hike in nine years when it concludes its December monetary policy meeting on Wednesday. The Fed's benchmark Federal Funds Rate has remained at its current near-zero level for every meeting since December, 2008. On Monday, the CME Group's (O:O:CME) FedWatch placed the probability of a rate hike at 81.4%, up slightly from Friday's level of 79.4% at the close of trading. The tool, which is based on the CME Group's 30-day Fed Fund futures prices, is used to express the market's view on the likelihood of changes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 103.29 or 0.60% to 17,368.50, while the NASDAQ Composite index inched up by 18.76 or 0.38% to 4,952.23, after each suffering one of their worst weeks of the year last week. The S&P 500 Composite index, meanwhile, rose 9.57 or 0.48% to 2,021.94, as nine of 10 sectors closed in the green. Stocks in the Telecommunications, Energy and Consumer Goods industries led, while stocks in the Basic Materials sector lagged.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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