Shares and dollar wilt before Fed test, Apple outperforms

Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:38pm EST
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By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stock markets followed Wall Street into the red early on Wednesday, while the euro managed a rare rally on speculation the Federal Reserve could take a dovish turn in its post-meeting statement later in the session.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) provided some relief after the bell as record sales of its iPhone line helped it beat expectations, sending its stock up 5 percent.

But earnings from other majors generally disappointed, with multinationals from DuPont <DD.N > to Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote) complaining that a strong U.S. dollar was hurting profits.

That left a soggy air to early Asian trade and Australia's main index .AXJO eased 0.4 percent while Nikkei futures JNIc1 pointed to an opening drop of around 0.8 percent.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was off a slim 0.06 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow .DJI ended with losses of 1.65 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX fell 1.34 percent and the Nasdaq .IXIC 1.89 percent.

Nine of the 10 primary S&P 500 sectors fell, with tech .SPLRCT off 3.3 percent in its biggest one-day drop since November 2011. Shares in Microsoft slid over 10 percent, while Caterpillar (CAT.N: Quote) shed 7 percent.

The latest U.S. economic news was mixed with durable goods orders surprisingly soft, but notable strength seen in housing and consumer sentiment.   Continued...

A woman walks up steps next to a share price ticker at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Winning