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Asian shares mixed as eyes turn on Fed meeting

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Published : 2014-03-19 21:28
Updated : 2014-03-19 21:28

HONG KONG (AFP) - Asia's markets were mixed in edgy trade on Wednesday after Russia ratcheted up tensions in Eastern Europe by formally absorbing Crimea from Ukraine.

Investors are also awaiting the end of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting, hoping for some guidance from its new head Janet Yellen on her plans for interest rates.

Tokyo rose 0.36 percent, or 51.25 points, to end at 14,462.52 and Sydney added 0.21 percent, or 11.0 points, to 5,355.6.

But Seoul lost 0.13 percent, or 2.53 points, to close at 1,937.68 and Shanghai finished 0.17 percent lower, giving up 3.46 points to 2,021.73.

Hong Kong ended virtually flat, edging down 14.81 points to 21,568.69.

President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty taking Crimea into Russia's fold following a weekend referendum which Western leaders slammed as illegal.

The move comes less than three weeks after Russian troops seized control of the strategic peninsula in response to the ousting of Ukraine's pro-Moscow government.

Kiev's new leaders warned the showdown had entered a "military stage" after soldiers were killed on both sides following a shootout in Crimea.

Despite the continuing crisis in Europe, traders are focused on the Fed's two-day meeting which ends later Wednesday.

On Wall Street Tuesday the Dow rose 0.55 percent, the S&P 500 shot up 0.72 percent – to end just short of a record high – and the Nasdaq climbed 1.25 percent.

 

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