TOKYO (AP) - Asian markets were downbeat Thursday after Federal Reserve policymakers left the U.S. benchmark rate at a record low but indicated they might raise it at their December meeting if the U.S. economy keeps improving.

TOKYO (AP) Asian markets were downbeat Thursday after Federal Reserve policymakers left the U.S. benchmark rate at a record low but indicated they might raise it at their December meeting if the U.S. economy keeps improving.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent to 18,842.36 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.4 percent to 22,869.14. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.4 percent to 5,258.20 and South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.4 percent to 2,034.58. China's Shanghai Composite Index was little changed at 3,379.38. Shares in Southeast Asia were lower.

FEDERAL RESERVE: In its latest statement, the Fed deleted language expressing concern about the global economy, which led to renewed expectations in financial markets of a December rate hike. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has previously said she wants to start raising rates this year. The Fed cut its benchmark interest rate to almost zero in late 2008 to stimulate the economy during the Great Recession. Low interest rates have been a boon for stock markets for several years.

JAPAN DATA: Stronger than expected Japanese manufacturing data failed to boost sentiment, since it increases the likelihood the Bank of Japan will hold off on further monetary easing. The BOJ wraps up a policy meeting on Friday.

THE QUOTE: "Equity markets across Asia initially opened positively, but the hawkish Fed statement and strong Japanese industrial production data put in doubt any further expansion of monetary easing by the major central banks in the near term," Angus Nicholson of IG said in a research note.

WALL STREET: After yo-yoing during the day, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 198.09 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,779.52. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 24.46 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,090.35. The Nasdaq composite picked up 65.55 points, or 1.3 percent, to 5,095.69.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 120.73 yen from 121.07 yen in the previous trading session. The euro rose to $1.0925 from $1.0924. The dollar climbed against other currencies on Wednesday as traders anticipated that higher rates were on the way. Central banks in Europe and Japan are expected to continue their own stimulus programs, keeping their rates near zero.

ENERGY: Oil prices fell back after soaring the day before when Pemex, the national oil company of Mexico, said it received permission to swap crude oil with the U.S., possibly ending the U.S. ban on exporting crude. U.S. crude slipped 22 cents to $45.73 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It climbed $2.74 to $45.94 a barrel in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 23 cents to $48.82 in London. It rose $2.24, or 4.8 percent, to $49.05 on Wednesday.

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