China Stocks Sink, Other Asia Stocks Up

BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese stocks sank again Wednesday while other Asian markets rose and Europe retreated as investors looked ahead to the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest statement on interest rates and the economic outlook.

KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, France's CAC-40 shed 0.5 percent to 4,336.04 and Germany's DAX lost 0.6 percent to 9,760.41. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent to 5,885.47. Wall Street look set to reverse Monday's gains. Dow futures were off 0.7 percent at 15,960.00 and S&P 500 futures dropped 0.8 percent to 1,880.70.

FED PLANS: Investors were watching Wednesday's Fed statement for signs of the pace of possible future rate hikes. The U.S. central bank raised rates last month for the first time since the 2008 global crisis, citing improved inflation and other data. But the strength of the dollar, low oil prices and jitters over China's outlook have prompted warnings against raising rates too fast.

ANALYST'S QUOTE: Fed officials will probably want to acknowledge the uncertainty raised by financial and international developments, said Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics in a report. "But they will likely also want to avoid encouraging the perception that a relatively modest bout of risk aversion in markets or mixed signals from the data will promptly change their outlook in a major way."

ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index fell 4 percent by midday before recovering to end down 0.5 percent at 2,735.56, adding to Tuesday's 6.4 percent loss. The Chinese benchmark has given up almost all gains made since December 2014. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 2.7 percent to 17,163.92 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1 percent at 19,052.45. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.4 percent to 1,897.87 and India's Sensex advanced 0.2 percent to 24,544.05. Markets in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also gained. Australia's S&P/ ASX 200 lost 1.2 percent to 4,946.40.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 80 cents to $30.65 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract soared $1.11 on Tuesday to close at $31.45. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, fell 68 cents to $31.12 per barrel in London. It jumped $1.30 on Tuesday to $31.80.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 118.15 yen from Tuesday's 118.31 yen. The euro fell to $1.0857 from $1.0864.

(KA)