Asian stocks open mixed ahead of Fed decision

Associated Press
FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, photo, trader Richard DeViccaro works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. World stock markets were tentative Friday Dec. 13, 2013 as investors prepared for the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision next week on whether to reduce its monetary stimulus. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks opened mixed Monday as traders sought direction ahead of a key decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve expected later this week.

The Nikkei 225 index for the Tokyo Stock Exchange slipped 0.6 percent to 15,312,95 in early trading despite a positive report from the central bank's "tankan" survey showing an improvement in large manufacturers' confidence.

Seoul's Kospi added 0. 12 percent to 1,965.30 within the first hour of trading.

Global investors are still trying to figure out where things could be headed next. Some are watching for whether the Fed might reduce its economic stimulus, which has worked to boost stock prices recently, when it announces a decision Wednesday.

On Wall Street Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average inched up 0.1 percent to 15,755.36 for its second weekly loss in a row.

A strong U.S. economy is crucial for Japan and the rest of this region, where big exporters make for a large part of the economy.

The Japanese central bank's quarterly "tankan" survey, released Monday, showed that a key index for business confidence among large manufacturers improved to 16 from 12 in the last survey, marking the fourth straight quarter rise.

One factor working as a plus for exporters is the weaker yen, which raises the value of overseas sales when converted into yen.

In currencies, the dollar was trading at 103.20, down from 103.74 yen late last week. The euro stood at $1.3747 from $1.3753.