RTTNews - Mixed opens are expected Wednesday for New Zealand and Australia stocks. Markets got a flat lead from Wall Street, as investors paused in advance of Wednesday's rate decision from the Federal Reserve.

New Zealand's sharemarket joined those in the Asia/Pacific region in moving lower on Tuesday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index retreated 32.9 points or 1.2 percent at 2,762.01.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 36.7 million shares worth NZ$76.1 million.

Among the session's most actively traded stocks, Auckland International Airport was up NZ$.04, Air NZ fell .01, AMP New Zealand Office Trust was unchanged, Fletcher Building was down .21 or more than 3 percent, Goodman Property Trust was unchanged, Infratil was down a nickel, SkyCity Entertainment was down .07, Telecom Corp of NZ was up a penny and Vector was down .02.

In Australia, stocks were also broadly lower, with the market posting its biggest drop since mid-May.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 121.3 points or 3.1 percent to 3,796.9 while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 117.8 points or 3.01 percent to close at 3,793.0.

Market turnover was 2.26 billion shares valued at A$5.24 billion.

Declining issues far outnumbered advancers 931 to 224 with 323 unchanged.

Lower commodities prices sent the resources sector falling.

Mining leader BHP Billiton declined A$1.45 or more than 4 percent while rival Rio Tinto fell $1.39 or 2.8 percent. Among the junior miners, Fortescue Metals plunged .40 or 9.8 percent and OZ Minerals was down a nickel or 5.4 percent.

For the energy-related stocks, Woodside Petroleum fell $1.03, Oil Search was down .19, Santos was down .57 and Origin Energy declined .31.

Among the big banks, Australia and NZ Banking Group was down .55, Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell $1.48, National Australia Bank declined .80 and Westpac Bank declined .91.

In the retail sector, Woolworths was down .28, Wesfarmers was down .42, David Jones was down .23 and Harvey Norman cropped a penny.

In overseas trading, stocks on Wall Street were little changed heading toward the close of business on Tuesday in advance of the following day's rate decision by the Federal Reserve. The Fed is generally expected to leave rates on hold.

About 20 minutes before the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 9.22 points or 0.11 percent at 8,329.79, the Nasdaq Composite index was up 3.53 points or 0.19 percent at 1,769.46 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 2.31 points or 0.26 percent at 895.35.

All of the major markets in the Asia/Pacific region closed lower on Tuesday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Average lost 276.66 points or 2.82 percent to close at 9,549.61.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong declined 521.18 points or 2.89 percent to 17,538.37.

China's Shanghai Composite index fell 3.61 points or 0.12 percent to 2,892.70.

In India, the BSE 30 index dropped 2.21 points or 0.02 percent to 14,324.01.

The Jakarta Composite index in Indonesia was down 60.64 points or 3.07 percent to 1,914.39.

South Korea's KOSPI/Seoul Composite index fell 39.17 points or 2.80 percent to 1,360.54.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was down 143.74 points or 2.27 percent to 6,197.47.

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