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WELLINGTON, April 29:

Asian stocks outside Japan climbed before the Federal Reserve begins its monthly policy meeting today, with markets in Tokyo closed for a holiday. Australia’s dollar was near a three-week low after a drop in iron-ore prices, while wheat snapped its advance and copper rose.

The Kospi index in Seoul and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added at least 0.2% by 10.31 am in Sydney, as about one stock rose for each that fell on the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index.

The Korean won climbed a second day, while the Aussie dropped 0.2% after iron ore sank to a 1 1/2-month low. Copper rose 0.2%. Wheat futures halted a five-day rally. Nasdaq 100 Index futures rose 0.1% after the gauge erased declines to end the day up 0.3%.

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest maker of smartphones, kicked off Asian earnings, posting profit that topped estimates, with Bank of China Ltd and Bharti Airtel Ltd to report later today.

Major US indexes recovered in the last hour of trading, paring losses sparked by the US and European Union levying new sanctions against Russia.

The Fed will probably announce a fourth straight stimulus cut at the end of its meeting tomorrow, economists polled by Bloomberg say.

“It will take a lot to get the Fed to veer off on their current course,” Bruce McCain, Cleveland-based chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

“If we see some signs of inflation along the way, they might be worried but otherwise they’re content to stay the course that they have set and let it wind down gradually over the course of this year.”

Samsung dropped 0.1% after earlier rising as much as 0.5% New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.5%.

West Texas Intermediate oil rose 0.1% to US$100.92 a barrel after climbing 0.2% in the last session.

Crude inventories in the US probably rose by 1.1 million barrels last week, the 14th increase in 15 weeks, according to a Bloomberg survey of energy analysts before an Energy Information Administration report due tomorrow. the US is the world’s biggest oil consumer.

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