World shares mixed as markets mull latest Fed statement

Fed balance sheet BI

Sony is losing nearly 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is declining 0.5 percent and Panasonic is edging down less than 0.1 percent, while Canon is up 0.2 percent. Bloomberg's Dollar Spot Index also rose the most since January, as the Fed eased concerns that the damage from the hurricanes would alter its outlook on higher rates, and big bank stocks also rose.

The dollar was last up 0.4% against the yen with markets showing little reaction after the Bank of Japan left its policy unchanged on Thursday, sticking to its massive stimulus program.

"If we move closer to a USA rate hike, that should come along with a bit more dollar strength and euro weakness which would harden the ECB's exit case and be a headwind for government bonds", said Commerzbank strategist Rainer Guntermann.

The New Zealand dollar gained 0.6 percent to $0.7360 after reaching its highest level in 6-1/2 weeks as one poll showed the country's National Party pulled ahead of the rival Labour Party ahead of a general election this weekend.

The central bank last raised its benchmark rate in June, lifting it by a quarter of a percentage point, the fourth increase since it started gradually pushing up rates in December of 2015.

While the Fed has said the process will be very gradual to avoid upsetting financial markets, it will act as a slight tightening of monetary policy akin to an interest rate hike. That was the index's fourth consecutive record high.

Gold prices are solidly lower and have hit a three-week low following the hawkish Fed meeting this week and the "risk-on" trader and investor attitudes at present.

During the 2008 financial crisis, Washington slashed the key interest rate almost to zero in a bid to boost growth and jobs.

Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd shed 1.1 percent, while Alps Electric Co Ltd tumbled 3.8 percent and Nitto Denko Corp dropped 1.3 percent.

Markets have priced in a near-zero chance that the Fed will change interest rates. Higher rates in turn boosts the value of the dollar, which has an inverse correlation to the gold price.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.2 percent.

"We suspect that the central bank will reiterate its dovish stance and likely weaken the dollar in the process", analyst Edward Meir expressed in a statement. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, dropped 37 cents to $55.25 in London. Shares of smaller wireless carrier T-Mobile rose 5.3 percent and Sprint jumped 8.1 percent, following a report they were in active merger talks.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 36 cents to $49.53 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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