Asian shares mixed ahead of Fed announcement, Nikkei lifted by Honda

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Investing.com - Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday ahead of a rate announcement from the Federal Reserve and on earnings news from Japan and South Korea.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was flat in early trading with shares in Honda Motor Company Ltd (TOKYO:7267) up 3.3% after the car maker lifted its full-year sales and profit forecasts. The company now expects net income of Y600 billion on sales of ¥12.8 trillion for the financial year ending March 2015, compared with an earlier forecast of ¥595 billion profit.

Hyundai Heavy Industries (KS:009540) plunged 8.9% in Seoul after the company posted its worst quarterly loss ever, as it was hurt by a stronger local currency and discounts it has offered since last year to prop sales amid a slowdown in the global shipbuilding industry.

South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.2% and Australia's S&P/ASX 2000 added 0.1%.

Laster, the Federal Reserve will conclude a policy meeting on Wednesday announcing fresh cuts to its monthly bond-buying program and deliver an upbeat take on the U.S. economy.

Overnight, Washington's decision to slap fresh sanctions on Russia for its alleged interference in Ukraine offset upbeat earnings and data and sent U.S. stocks falling on Tuesday.

The Dow 30 fell 0.41%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.45%, while the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.05%.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that Washington was slapping sanctions on Russian energy, defense and financial sectors on accusations that Moscow continues to support separatists in the Ukraine while amassing troops along its Ukrainian border.

The measures block of exports of certain goods and technologies bound for Russia's energy sector, toughen up sanctions on Russian financial and defense companies as well as suspend credit that encourages exports to Russia as well as finance development projects.

Europe followed suit with similar measures, and the moves sparked fears the standoff will weigh on global growth, which offset positive U.S. data and earnings and sent equities indices falling on Tuesday.

The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index rose to 90.9 in July from an upwardly revised 86.4 in June. It was the highest reading since October 2007, defying consensus forecasts for a decline to 85.3.

Elsewhere in the U.S., investors took in stride the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index.

The 20-city composite index for May grew 9.3% year-over-year, down from April's 10.8% reading, though the 10-city index grew 9.4%, down from April's 10.9%, though markets have priced in slackness in the U.S. housing sector.

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