Asian shares mostly lower after US holiday, await Fed notes

Asian shares were mostly lower Tuesday after a U.S. holiday and attention turned to the U.S. Federal Reserve.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.3 percent in early trading to 21,863.84. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.4 percent to 5,920.10. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.0 percent to 2,418.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.7 percent at 30,908.26, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.5 percent to 3,199.16.

US HOLIDAY: American markets were closed Monday for Presidents' Day.

CENTRAL BANKS: Minutes are expected later Tuesday from the latest Federal Reserve meeting. Investors were also watching remarks in Japanese parliament from Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda. Kuroda was reappointed recently for another five-year term in a show of confidence in his ultra-easy monetary policy.

THE QUOTE: "The Fed's sequence of interest rate normalization should be the markets key focus this week and the primary drivers of near-term volatility," says Stephen Innes, head of trading at OANDA.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 53 cents to $62.08 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 32 cents at $65.35 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The euro slipped to $1.2394 from $1.2408. The dollar rose to 106.70 yen from 106.57 yen.


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