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Asia-Pacific shares blended as U.S. Fed commits to persevering with to help the financial system

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific traded mixed on Thursday morning as investors reacted to the latest announcements from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.13% while the Topix index shed 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.15%.

Shares in Australia edged higher, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.59%.

Australia’s unemployment rate in November was at 6.8%, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday. That compared against October’s 7% unemployment rate. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the unemployment rate in November to stay at 7%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.08% higher.

The Fed said it will buy at least $120 billion of bonds each month “until substantial further progress has been made toward the Committee’s maximum employment and price stability goals,” according to its post-meeting statement. The U.S. central bank also kept benchmark interest rates near zero, as expected, following the conclusion of its two-day meeting.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also said on Wednesday that stock prices are not necessarily highly priced given how low interest rates are.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed 0.2% higher at 3,701.17. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.5% to end its trading day at 12,658.19, seeing intraday and closing all-time highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, on the other hand, shed 44.77 points to close at 30,154.54.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.45 following levels above 90.6 seen earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.48 per dollar, having strengthened from levels above 104 against the greenback seen earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7579, above levels below $0.75 seen last week.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

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Katherine Clark