Asian stocks mixed as US dollar strengthens

<p>The dollar rose for a second consecutive day.</p>

Asian markets ended the week on a mixed note today (March 20th) as the US dollar grew stronger. 

The US currency tumbled on Wednesday when the US Federal Reserve dropped its "patient" language from the policy statement, and trimmed its growth and inflation forecasts, sending a dovish message to markets that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates any time soon. It also said unemployment could fall further than first thought without risking a spike in inflation.

The euro stood against the dollar at $1.0683 (£0.72), well below Wednesday's high above $1.10. Against the Japanese yen, the greenback remained at ¥120.725.

The stronger US currency and lower oil prices drove energy and material stocks down. Japan's Nikkei 225 ended 0.4 per cent higher at 19,560.22 points, while the broader Topix gained 0.3 per cent to 1,580.51. South Korea's Kospi index edged down 0.03 per cent to end at 2,037.24, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.4 per cent to 5,975.49 points.

"Markets believe that the Fed has substantially overestimated the negative impact of the USD in its new forecasts," Chang Weiliang at Mizuho wrote in a report seen by the BBC.

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