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Shanghai shares hit 2-month high; Dongfeng slides 1%

Mainland shares rose to a two-month high on Wednesday while other Asian shares were cautious before the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting.

U.S. stocks closed mixed on Tuesday, having resumed trade after Monday's public holiday. The Nasdaq Composite rose for an eighth straight session, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped after a measure of home builder confidence fell sharply in February.

Later on Wednesday, the U.S central bank will release minutes from its January meeting, at which it opted to cut another $10 billion from its monthly asset purchases.

(Read more: China, Japan headed down opposite policy paths)

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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Shanghai 1.1% higher

Mainland shares hit a nine-week high as investors took relief from lower money market rates a day after the People's Bank of China drained $8 billion from money markets. The benchmark 7-day repo rate traded around 3.5 percent, indicating that liquidity levels remain ample.

(Read more: The China risk you may have forgotten about)

China Citic Bank rallied as much as 10 percent after reporting a 26 percent increase in 2013 net profit growth.

Air China rallied 2 percent after signing a memorandum of understanding with Honeywell Aerospace to begin testing GX Aviation on the carrier's A330 aircraft.

Hong Kong's Dongfeng Motor fell 1 percent after confirming a capital tie-up with Peugeot.

(Read more: Is China's love for Treasurys waning?)

Nikkei drops 0.5%

Japanese shares fell on profit-taking after rising to its highest level this month on Tuesday following the Bank of Japan's loan extension scheme. A stronger currency also weighed on exporter shares as the yen moved off the previous day's two-and-a-half-week low of 102.7 per dollar.

Banks gave up the previous day's gains with Mizuho, Mitsubishi UFG and Sumitomo Mitsui all nearly 1 percent lower as market excitement over the BOJ's announcement fizzled out.

Canon rallied 2.5 percent after announcing it will buy up to 18 million of its own shares.

Meanwhile, sentiment was also hit after U.S. treasury secretary Jack Lew said the U.S. remains concerned whether domestic demand can continue to drive the Japanese economy.

Sydney up 0.3%

Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 extended gains into a fourth session, trading at three-month highs, as investors digested the latest earnings reports.

Amid winners, Brambles rose 2.5 percent after first-half net profit rose 11 percent.

But Fortescue Metals gave up earlier gains to fall 2 percent despite tripling its half-year net profit, Woodside Petroleum lost 0.3 percent after reporting a 41 percent decrease in full year net profit and Wesfarmers fell 0.5 percent despite an 11 percent rise in first-half net profit.

Prana Biotechnology soared 21 percent after announcing the success of its experimental brain disorder drug.

(Read more: Election year for emerging markets: What to expect)

Kospi 0.2% lower

South Korean shares retreated further from a one-month high hit earlier this week despite positive data. The nation's ratio of short-term external debt to its foreign reserves hit an eight-year low in December, indicating the strong growth of its reserves.

Posco, the nation's largest steel maker, slipped 0.5 percent after winning a legal dispute over patent infringements filed by Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal.

Emerging markets gain

Thailand's benchmark SET Index fell 0.4 percent on fresh political violence. Four people were killed on Monday as authorities made their most determined effort yet to clear demonstrators from the streets.

(Read more: Election year for emerging markets: What to expect)

Meanwhile, Indian shares rose 0.4 percent to their highest levels since January 29.

By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC

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