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Asian shares trade mixed as markets await Fed meeting

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Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 0.12 percent in early trade and the Topix was lower by around the same level. Trading houses and financials were under pressure, while technology names traded mixed.

Asian markets were mixed early on Monday, with Australia's ASX 200 gaining early in the session and Japan's benchmark index trading just below the flat line.
Investors are also expected to turn their attention to the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting later in the week.
Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 0.12 percent in early trade and the Topix was lower by around the same level. Trading houses and financials were under pressure, while technology names traded mixed.
Meanwhile, South Korea's benchmark Kospi index slipped 0.12 percent. Automakers were sharply lower while steelmakers logged gains. Hyundai Motor fell 3.49 percent in the early going and Posco rose 2.78 percent.
Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 got off to a positive start, with the index advancing 0.22 percent. Energy stocks rose 1.4 percent, leading gains in the morning after the rise in oil prices in the last session.
Markets in the region had closed mixed in the last session on the back of trade concerns and White House personnel-related developments out of Washington.
Fed meeting ahead
Ahead, markets will focus on the two-day Federal Open Market Committee monetary policy meeting later in the week. The central bank is expected to raise interest rates and investors are keen on getting more clarity on the number of rate hikes expected this year.
"It is not a bold forecast to argue that there will be a hawkish undertone from the meeting," Michelle Meyer, US economist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, said in a report.
"However, our more nuanced view is that while the Fed will take steps in the hawkish direction, they will be baby steps rather than moving in leaps and bounds."
Stocks stateside edged slightly higher on Friday, but still recorded a loss last week. The Dow and S&P 500 declined 1.5 percent and 1.2 percent on the week, respectively.
Meanwhile, US consumer sentiment rose more than expected in a preliminary reading for the month, touching its highest levels since 2004.
Elsewhere, European markets finished stronger on Friday, with the pan-European STOXX 600 closing up 0.22 percent and the FTSE 100 edging up 0.34 percent.
Of note, Chinese President Xi Jinping was re-elected unanimously to the post over the weekend by the country's mostly rubber-stamp legislature. Wang Qishan, the former anti-corruption chief and an ally of Xi's, was named vice president.
Meanwhile, economist Yi Gang was nominated to take over the helm at the People's Bank of China from current governor Zhou Xiaochuan, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.
Companies expected to announce results later in the day include Shenzhen Expressway and Hong Kong-listed China Literature.
What's on tap
Here's the economic calendar for Monday (all times in HK/SIN):
•9:30 a.m.: China house price index
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