Asian shares mixed on cautious Fed outlook

Kospi Image copyright AFP

Asian shares were mixed despite a poor lead from Wall Street after the Federal Reserve warned of slowing growth.

The region's biggest index, Japan's Nikkei 225, fell 0.7% to close at 17,041.45 points.

US markets closed lower despite early gains after the Federal Reserve said it was "closely monitoring" global economic conditions.

The comments by the Fed are seen as an indication that it thinks the global economic slowdown may continue.

Following the turbulence on global stock markets in recent weeks, traders had hoped for a hint the Fed might hold off on plans to gradually raise interest rates this year.

However, the Fed left all options open, including a rate rise at its next meeting in March.

In China, the Shanghai Composite followed the regional trend and fell 0.8% to 2,713.9 points in early trade, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat at 19,071.61.

Samsung sags

In South Korea, the Kospi index managed to reverse earlier losses and closed slightly higher by 0.5% at 1,906.94 points.

Shares in Samsung Electronics lost 2.6% after it released disappointing full-year results following tough competition in the smartphone market and weaker demand for its semiconductors.

The electronics giant also warned of possible weaker profits for 2016.

Australia's ASX 200 managed to beat the trend to rise 0.6%, closing at 4,976.20 points.

Mining stocks like Rio Tinto, Newcrest and Santos all finished the day with solid gains.

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