Asian shares struggled to make firm gains on Wednesday as already high valuations discouraged investors from buying equities ahead of a closely-watched U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.12%. Australian stocks rose 0.47%, but shares in China slipped 0.06%. South Korean stocks fell 0.99%. Stocks in Tokyo edged 0.46% higher.
S&P 500 e-mini stock futures rose 0.14%.
Euro Stoxx 50 futures were up 0.25%, German DAX futures up 0.16%, FTSE futures up 0.31%, pointing to a positive start to European trading.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is expected later on Wednesday to reaffirm that easy monetary policy will remain in place for a prolonged period and dismiss any suggestions of tapering bond purchases.
U.S. President Joe Biden will also address a joint session of Congress, where he may make additional comments about infrastructure and stimulus spending.
These developments would normally be a positive for stocks, but analysts say so much economic optimism is already priced into the equity market that it is difficult to buy stocks further from current levels.