Asian shares slipped on Monday as investors braced for a Federal Reserve meeting at which it is expected to confirm it will soon start draining the massive lake of liquidity that has supercharged growth stocks in recent years.
Adding to the caution were concerns about a possible Russian attack on Ukraine with the U.S. State Department pulling out family members of its embassy staff in Kyiv.
The New York Times reported President Joe Biden was considering sending thousands of U.S. troops to NATO allies in Europe along with warships and aircraft.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.7% and Japan’s Nikkei 0.1%. Chinese blue chips added 0.4%, perhaps aided by the recent easing in policy by Beijing.
In Europe, EUROSTOXX 50 futures slipped 0.4%, while FTSE futures fell 0.2%.
But Wall Street futures bounced after last week’s drubbing, with the S&P 500 futures up 0.7% and Nasdaq futures 0.8%.
Anxious markets are now even pricing in a small chance the Fed hikes rates this week, though the overwhelming expectation is for a first move to 0.25% in March and three more to 1.0% by year end.