Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday as worries about the U.S. elections and a Fed rate rise in December dogged sentiment.
On leaving rates unchanged on Wednesday, the Fed noted the case for a rate rise had "continued to strengthen," though it said it was waiting for further evidence before acting. The commentary was interpreted as policymakers keeping a December rate rise on the table.
Meanwhile, ahead of next week's Presidential elections recent polls put Hillary Clinton three percentage points ahead of Donald Trump, though Clinton's lead has narrowed since the FBI last week reopened an investigation into the use of her private email server.
U.S. futures diverged in the extent of their declines, with Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.45% after a revenue warning from Facekbook (FB) and Dow Jones futures down 0.09%.
The dollar traded 0.65% lower against the yen at ¥102.6300. It was also down against the euro and against the pound ahead of today's rate meeting at the Bank of England.
Japanese markets were closed on Thursday for a public holiday. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng slipped 0.22% to 22,760.02. But banks recovered from yesterday's selloff and real estate companies, led by Link REIT, also rose.
On mainland China the CSI Composite rose 0.94% to 3,364.79. The Caixin/Markit services sector purchasing managers' index rose to 52.4 in October from 52.0 as business activity in the sector increased at the fastest pace in four months. But it was manufacturing growth primarily that pushed the composite PMI to its highest point since early 2013, at 52.9, up from 51.4 in September.
In Sydney the S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.07% to 5,225.56. Government data showed Australia's trade deficit narrowed far more than expected in September as a sharp rise in coal prices pushed the value of exports higher.
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group closed marginally higher after it suggested it may sell its wealth management arm. The news came alongside full-year results that were the lowest since 2011 and after the bank said on Monday it would sell wealth and retail businesses in five Asian markets to Singapore's DBS.
Brent crude was recently up 0.83% at $47.25 a barrel and gold was up 0.36% at $1,301.52 an ounce.