Asian shares lower after US Fed meeting

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Asian shares headed mostly lower, following Wall Street's lead, after the US Federal Reserve indicated it was still on track to raise interest rates this year.

The Dow Jones fell 1.1% to a six-week low, while the S&P 500 lost 1.4%.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed down 1.1% at 17,606.22 - its biggest one-day drop for two weeks.

That came despite data showing retail sales rose for the sixth consecutive month in December.

However, the 0.2% year-on-year growth fell short of gains expected by economists.

Shares of Nintendo slumped 8.7% after the video game maker halved its operating profit target for the fiscal year through March to 20bn yen ($169m; £112m) from 40bn yen.

Brokerages investigated

Chinese shares headed lower after reports that regulators were launching another investigation into margin trading at brokerages.

The official Xinhua news agency said the stock regulator would inspect margin trading at 46 companies as part of a regular check.

The mainland Shanghai Composite ended the day down 1.3% at 3,262.30, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 1.1% lower at 24,595.85.

Australian shares bucked the trend to hit a 20-week high on hopes of an interest rate cut by the central bank when it meets next week Tuesday.

Markets now imply a 50-50 chance that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will cut its 2.5% cash rate by a quarter of a point.

The S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.3% at 5569.5 - its highest since 10 September and the seventh consecutive day of gains.

In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi finished down 0.5% at 1,951.02 after hitting a seven-week high in the previous session.

Shares in Samsung Electronics lost 1.3% after the smartphone maker reported that its net profit fell 27% in the fourth quarter from a year ago.

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