Asia-Pacific markets trade mixed as investors digest Fed’s smaller quarter-point hike

Adani Enterprises withdraws follow-on public offering overnight Investors will be closely watching shares of Adani Group companies after Adani Enterprises withdrew its $2.5 billion follow-on public offering overnight, despite the sale being fully subscribed, which many saw as a vote of confidence from investors. The company cited “the unprecedented situation and the current market volatility,” for the decision, adding that it is working to refund the proceeds to investors. “Given these extraordinary circumstances, the Company’s board felt that going ahead with the issue would not be morally correct,” founder Gautam Adani said in a statement. “The interest of the investors is paramount and hence to insulate them from any potential financial losses, the Board has decided not to go ahead with the FPO,” he said. The move comes after Adani stocks continued to sell off during Wednesday’s trading session in Mumbai — reflecting eroded investor sentiment since Hindenburg Research announced its short position in Adani Group companies. Shares of Adani Enterprises plunged by 28% as of Wednesday’s market close. Adani Port and Special Economic Zone dropped 19%, Adani Green Energy fell 5.6%, Adani Total Gas lost 10% while Adani Transmission closed 2.8% lower.– Jihye LeeSouth Korea’s consumer price index rose 5.2% in JanuarySouth Korea’s consumer price index rose by 5.2 % in January on an annualized basis, data from Statistics Korea shown. The latest print shows an uptick from previous readings, after falling from 5.7% in October 2022 to 5.0% in November and remaining unchanged in December. Prices of living necessities rose by 6.1 % compared to a year ago, while fresh food items rose by 2.4%.– Jihye LeeFederal Reserve hikes by 25 basis points, but expects ‘ongoing’ increasesThe Federal Reserve raised benchmark overnight lending rates by 25 basis points, or 0.25 percentage point, matching investor expectations. The hike brings the Fed’s target range to 4.5%-4.75%, the highest level since 2007. In its statement, however, the Fed kept language noting that the FOMC still sees the need for “ongoing increases in the target range.” Market participants had been hoping for some softening of the phrase, but the statement, approved unanimously, kept it intact.—Jeff CoxDon’t expect a rate cut in 2023, Powell saysJerome Powell said he doesn’t expect the Fed to cut rates this year, as some major strategists project.”Given our outlook, I don’t see us cutting rates this year, if our outlook comes true,” the Fed chair said. Powell also said he was “not concerned” about the bond market implying one more cut before a pause, because some market participants are expecting inflation to fall faster than the Fed does.”If we do see inflation coming down much more quickly, that will play into our policy setting, of course,” Powell said.— Jesse PoundEconomy still in ‘early stage’ of easing inflation, Powell saysPowell acknowledged that there have been positive signs in recent employment reports even while labor data has remained strong but said it was too early to celebrate.”It is a good thing that the disinflation that we have seen so far has not come at the expense of the labor market,” Powell said, but added that the economy was still in an “early stage” of easing inflation. He said that a decline in goods prices and data showing recent softening of the rental housing market is a “good story.” However, he said that the Fed doesn’t “see disinflation yet” in the core services part of inflation, excluding housing.—Jesse PoundGold reaches intraday high not seen since AprilGold hit a session high not seen since April. The metal traded as high as $1,956.60 during Wednesday trading. That’s the highest it has traded since April 22, 2022, when gold reached $1,957.80.— Alex Harring, Gina Francolla

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