Asian markets mixed as Fed reduces bond purchases

ASIAN markets were mixed on Thursday after the United States central bank said it would reduce its money-printing policy, but it was hardly the catastrophe that some had feared it would be.

Hong Kong lost 1.1 per cent and Shanghai fell 0.95 per cent, but Sydney shares jumped 2.08 per cent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 1.74 per cent to its highest close in six years, as the yen weakened against the US dollar - a currency move which will boost Japanese exporters.

In Singapore, the benchmark Straits Times Index inched up 8.45 points or 0.3 per cent to 3,070.23. Index gainers included DBS Group Holdings, up 10 cents or 0.6 per cent to $16.59 after Barclays Research upgraded the stock to "overweight".

Analysts said that investors had mostly priced in the cut in bond purchases, especially as the idea had been bandied around by the Federal Reserve since May.

But the decision, the first sign that five years of easy money is slowly coming to an end, removed uncertainty hanging over the markets.

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