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Asian Markets Rise; Earnings Eyed

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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Asian stocks ended on a positive note on Wednesday, with investors shifting their focus to corporate earnings in the region and the Federal Reserve's policy announcement later in the day.

Japanese stocks rose on optimistic profit expectations while earnings-related news dominated the market as investors awaited trading cues from the corporate sector.

The benchmark Nikkei share average closed up 2.28 percent at 11,113.95 on Wednesday, while the broader Topix gained 1.51 percent to 934.67.

(Read More: Why It's Time to Underweight Japan)

South Korean shares ended higher, as institutional investors and pension funds stepped up buying, offsetting a sell-off by foreign investors.

Among heavyweights, Samsung Electronics ended up 2.2 percent while Hyundai Motor fell 1.5 percent.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished up 0.43 percent at 1,964.44 points.

Australian shares rose 0.2 percent to a fresh 21-month high as top miners climbed on firmer copper prices and insurers rebounded as the wider market gained from a revival in risk appetite.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 7.7 points to 4,896.7, according to the latest data, its best since April 2011. It rose 1.1 percent on Tuesday.

BHP Billiton gained 1.2 percent while Rio Tinto advanced 1.5 percent.

QBE Insurance Group rebounded 4.2 percent while Insurance Australia Group recovered 1.2 percent. Insurers had been hit as fire and flood ravages Australia.

(Read More: Correction Looms for Euphoric Aussie Markets)

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index added 1.1 percent to 4,247.546, the highest since October 2007.

China shares stretched gains into a third straight day, helped by strength in property-related counters after local news reports raised hopes that Beijing could tolerate house price increases of up to 10 percent this year.

The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings closed up 0.5 percent at 2,688.7, while the Shanghai Composite rose 1 percent.

Investors also welcomed a report in the official China Securities Journal newspaper that more than half of China Development Bank's new loans in 2013 will go to supporting the new leadership's urbanization agenda.

Hong Kong shares climbed to their highest since April 2011, helped by strength in China-related counters that pushed the benchmark index above a chart level that had put a lid on gains for nearly two weeks.

The Hang Seng Index ended up 0.7 percent at 23,822.1 points, its highest close since April 27, 2011. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.8 percent.

China Railway Construction jumped 3.9 percent after the official China Securities Journal reported the railway ministry plans to spend 117 billion yuan ($18.80 billion) to buy rail cars this year, up from 108.2 billion yuan in 2012.

ZTE reversed mild midday losses to end up 1.7 percent after a senior ZTE executive said that China's second-largest telecom equipment maker expects smartphone shipments in 2013 to exceed an earlier 50 million unit forecast.

Lenovo Group fell 2.7 percent from Tuesday's more-than-five-year closing high ahead of its third-quarter earnings due later in the day. Still, it has risen 18 percent in January, after jumping 36 percent in 2012.

China Resources Land climbed 1.5 percent in Hong Kong. It is now up 14 percent in January after surging 69 percent in 2012. Shenzhen-listed China Vanke outperformed a flat market to rise 0.3 percent.

India's benchmark BSE Index, ended 0.06 percent higher, and the broader NSE index gained 0.1 percent.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore's STI ended up 0.8 percent, while Malaysia's KLCI closed 0.6 percent lower.