Asian markets lower; Kospi near flat, Nikkei down 0.2% and ASX down 0.4%

Asian markets

Markets in Asia traded lower on Thursday, after a mixed overnight close in U.S. equities overnight as minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting indicated that a rate hike is coming “fairly soon.”

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside japan went down around 0.1 having surged to its highest level on Wednesday since July 2015.

The Nikkei 225 of Japan was down 0.18 percent, while Korea’s Kospi index was lower at 2,105.50 after the central bank kept interest rates unchanged at 1.25 percent, as expected, for an eighth straight month.

The ASX 200 of Australia went down 0.39 percent in morning trade, with the heavily-weighted financial sub-index near flat and materials sector missing 1.72 percent.

Qantas reported first-half underlying profit before tax slid 7.5 percent on year to 852 million Australian dollars for the six months ending in December 31, 2016 but was above the guidance range provided in October. Shares for Qantas gained 3.94 percent in the morning session.

Nissan announced that it was appointing its co-CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, to be the chief executive officer effective as of April 1. Carlos Ghosn, who is a chairman of the board and CEO, will still serve as chairman and will seek a renewal of mandate at Nissan’s general shareholders meeting in June. The shares for Nissan dropped 0.76 percent in early trade.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up at around 0.2 percent, its ninth straight record close.

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