Asian stocks inched higher Wednesday from a one-month low hit the previous day while the U.S. dollar drifted, with investors bracing for a Federal Reserve decision and any signs the central bank is worried about the jump in U.S. bond yields.
The Fed is widely expected to keep interest rates on hold at a record low and keep its planned debt purchases unchanged, so the focus is on whether the central bank tweaks its statement to rein in a slide in U.S. Treasuries that threatens the economy's budding recovery.
The dollar found its footing after a sharp slide the previous day, the latest volatile move across markets in the waning days of the second quarter. The greenback edged up against the yen and was little changed versus the euro . Crude oil surrendered some of the gains in Asia, slipping below $69 a barrel.
The market shrugged off Japanese data showing exports tumbled 40.9 percent in Mayfrom a year earlier, underscoring that any recovery in global trade is going to be a long one.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Average rose 0.4 percent as investors picked up some battered shares, with Softbank climbing after UBS Securities raised its target price for the issue.
Seoul shares ended steady, up 0.2 percent after volatile trade as caution prevailed before the Fed rate decision, but gains in technology issues including LG Display fueled the main index.
Australian shares edged back into positive ground to end up 0.3 percent, as shopping mall group Westfield jumped after fund managers regained confidence in real estate investment trusts. The other main feature was a 3.8 percent rise in the price of rights of a $15.2 billion sale of cheap shares by the market's second-largest miner, Rio Tinto. Rio rose 2 percent to A$49.60 on the last day of trading in the rights.
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Hong Kong shares rose 2 percent, bouncing back from a sharp sell-off previously, but China-listed stocks lagged after regulators approved a second IPO following a near 10-month hiatus in new listings. Chinese internet portal Tencent Holdings jumped 5.7 percent after it signed a deal with Take-Two Interactive Software to develop and distribute online versions of Take-Two's popular NBA 2K basketball video game.
Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 2.4 percent with commodity firm Olam up 6 percent, after it said the planned purchase of a U.S. tomato firm could add to its presence in the agriculture sector, and as commodity futures rose.
China's Shanghai Composite Index was 1 percent higher. Steel stocks outshone the broad market on news of a newly discovered iron ore deposit in China's Liaoning province, with reserves estimated at 3 billion tons. The deposit could be producing up to 5 million tons by 2015, a local geological official told Reuters on Wednesday. Baoshan Iron and Steel, China's largest steelmaker, climbed 3 percent.