Asian stocks lower ahead of US central bank meeting

<p>Investors are looking for signs of an interest rate hike.</p>

Asian shares were down again today (March 4th) as investors await a US central bank meeting and the release of the US non-farm 
payrolls report for February. Markets expect the job figures will provide some indication as to when the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

"Whether this selling is short-term profit-taking or can lead to a solid correction depends on how the market perceives the US jobs data," Nissay Asset Management equity strategist Isao Kubo told Reuters.

 "If wages are better than expected and trigger worry about a sooner (rather) than later rate hike, there may be some more selling in stocks," he added.

The Nikkei 225 was 0.6 per cent down to 18,703.60 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost one per cent to 24,465.38. Seoul's Kospi fell 0.2 per cent to 1,998.29, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5 per cent to 3,279.53.

India's Sensex ended 0.8 per cent up to 29,823.02 after the central bank surprised markets by cutting interest rates.

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