Visitors stand in front of an electronic ticker at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX) in Tokyo, Japan on Monday, November 30, 2020.

Toru Hanai | Bloomberg via Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Asia-Pacific markets rallied on Tuesday after a relatively subdued start to the global trading week as investors watch the US Fed meeting.

Australian stocks rose as the benchmark ASX 200 index rose 0.25% after being nearly flat in the previous session. Most sectors rose, with the exception of the energy and materials sub-indices, which fell 0.63% and 0.59%, respectively.

Oil names and big miners fell while most of the country’s so-called Big Four banks also struggled, with only the Commonwealth Bank gaining 0.39%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.16% while the Topix index rose 0.13%. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.34%.

This follows an overnight session on Wall Street where the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose and closed on record highs on optimism about the economic reopening.

Fed meeting

The Federal Open Market Committee will meet on March 16-17.

This is “undoubtedly another factor that is making investors a little cautious at the start of the new week,” Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, said in a statement Tuesday morning.

“Much emphasis is placed on whether the new forecasts and points confirm the current surge in expectations for the Fed hike,” he said.

The members of the FOMC forecast quarterly where interest rates will go in the short, medium and long term. These projections are graphed visually and are known as a scatter plot.

A rise in interest rates and a recovering US economy have put the central bank’s loose policy in the spotlight, and market watchers have wondered when the Fed might consider winding up that policy.

Currencies and oil

In the foreign exchange market, the US dollar fell slightly to 91.814 against a comparable basket.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 109.18 and stayed relatively flat. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar fell 0.14% to $ 0.7743.

Oil prices stumbled during Asian trading hours on Tuesday. US crude oil futures fell 0.57% to $ 65.02 a barrel, while the global benchmark Brent index fell 0.48% to $ 68.55.