(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks closed mostly higher on Wednesday as investors awaited the U.S.Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision as well as the accompanying policy statement for clues about the outlook for rates.
Markets have already priced in a 25 bps rate hike and traders would be looking at the forward guidance for the December meeting.
Chinese shares gained ground on expectations that global index provider MSCI may quadruple weighting of China A-shares in its global benchmarks.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index climbed 25.67 points or 0.92 percent to 2,806.81 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 1.15 percent to 27,816.87.
Japanese shares extended gains for an eighth consecutive session despite many companies going ex-dividend and chip-related stocks succumbing to profit taking.
The Nikkei average rose 93.53 points or 0.39 percent to 24,033.79, closing above 24,000 for the first time in eight months, as the dollar largely stuck to tight ranges ahead of the FOMC decision due tonight.
The broader Topix index finished marginally lower at 1,821.67 as markets awaited the outcome of a scheduled summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump to expand trade framework.
Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Nomura Holdings dropped 1-4 percent due to ex-dividend price adjustments.
Semiconductor company Tokyo Electron lost 1.8 percent. Takeda Pharmaceutical advanced 1.6 percent after Daiwa Securities raised its rating on the stock.
Australian markets finished slightly higher as gains in material and energy stocks outpaced weakness in the banking sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.10 percent to 6,192.30 while the broader All Ordinaries index inched up 0.14 percent to 6,307.80.
Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose over 1 percent as investors shrugged off fears of a China-U.S. trade war. Gold miners Newcrest and Evolution also gained over 1 percent as gold prices held steady ahead of the Fed decision.
Energy stocks benefited from a recent rally in oil prices, with Woodside Petroleum rallying 1.5 percent and Oil Search climbing 2.3 percent. Santos dropped 1.1 percent after the company said it aims to lift production to more than 100 million barrels by 2025.
The big four banks fell between 0.3 percent and 0.9 percent as investors awaited an interim report of the powerful Royal Commission inquiry into the country's banking and financial services sector.
Farm chemical maker Nufarm entered a trading half ahead of a capital raising. Atlas Iron jumped 4.8 percent as Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting raised its offer price for the junior miner.
New Zealand markets ended little changed after a government report showed the country posted its largest monthly trade deficit on record in August. The trade deficit stood at NZ$1.484 billion in August, missing forecasts for a shortfall of NZ$925 million following the revised deficit of NZ$196 million in July.
The South Korean market was closed for Chuseok Day holiday. India's Sensex was down 0.6 percent on eve of F&O expiry.
Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed as investors confronted with higher interest rates and oil prices. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.2 percent, while the Dow dropped 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent.
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