Asian stocks mostly down on US rate hike uncertainty

<p>The US Fed said that an interest-rate hike “sometime later this year” would “likely be appropriate”.</p>

Asian stocks ended the week mostly down today (September 25th) after a weak overnight session on Wall Street due to the uncertainty surrounding the US monetary policy.

In a speech yesterday, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said that an interest-rate hike "sometime later this year" would "likely be appropriate". However, she said that any decision will rely on economic data. 

"Our view for a December rate hike has not changed," Cynthia Jane Kalasopatan of Singapore's Mizuho Bank wrote in a note seen by CNBC. "Overall, we acknowledge that some caution prevail amid China's wobbles and a strong [greenback] but US data releases continue to point to a broad recovery picture. With no major data releases or events, Fed's policy outlook may be the key driver in markets today."

Meanwhile, investors focused on Japan, where speculation is rife that the central bank will be stepping up its quantitative easing at the October policy meeting. 

Japan's Nikkei 225 bounced back from earlier losses to finish 1.8 per cent higher at 17,880.51. South Korea's Kospi edged down 0.2 per cent to 1,942.85 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.4 per cent to 21,179.87. China's Shanghai Composite fell 1.2 per cent to 3,103.90 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.3 per cent to 5,056.80.

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