Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Thursday following the modest losses overnight on Wall Street in a choppy session after minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting showed broad consensus for further interest rate hikes on the back of robust economic growth and strong labor market conditions. The Fed's assessment comes even as U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the central bank for raising interest rates too quickly.
The Japanese stock market is losing ground in a choppy session despite a weaker yen, following the modest losses on Wall Street. Investors also digested data that showed Japan recorded a merchandise trade surplus in September, even as its exports fell for the first time since 2016. The Greater China markets were in largely negative territory in the afternoon. The Shanghai composite dropped by 2.4 percent while the Shenzhen composite fell by 1.8 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index also slipped by 0.9 percent. The ASX 200 saw a recovery to trade largely flat. The heavily weighted financials subindex returned to positive territory by trading 0.45 percent higher, while the energy sector recovered partially from its earlier losses but still saw a decline of 0.48 percent and materials fell by 0.68 percent.
The dollar index, which measures its value against six major peers, last traded at 95.703, little changed on the day, after rising to a fresh one week-high earlier in the day. 10 year Treasury yield last stood at 3.210 percent, 2.8 basis points higher than the U.S. close. Oil prices fell on Wednesday, with U.S. futures settling below $70 a barrel for the first time in a month, after U.S. crude stockpiles rose 6.5 million barrels, almost triple what analysts had forecast, while exports dropped.
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