Asia Markets

Asia stocks mixed before Fed meeting; Iraq in focus


Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's policy decision.

Wall Street rose for a third session as higher inflation data helped offset concerns over Iraq. May's consumer price index jumped by a larger-than-expected 0.4 percent, with the report coming as the Federal Reserve kicked off its two-day policy review with a decision due later in the day.

"This [inflation data] should come as a relief to the Federal Reserve Committee as a pick-up in pricing power reflects a stronger economy. However, it may not be enough to prompt a better economic forecast later tonight judging from the IMF's forecast earlier this week, and the unexpected economic contraction in Q1," said Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets.

Read MoreHere's the next big thing the Fed will talk about

Meanwhile, Brent crude was steady above $113 a barrel after fighting in the Iraqi city of Baquba, located to the northeast of Baghdad, shut down the country's biggest oil refinery on Tuesday.

Nikkei up 1%

Japan's benchmark index finished at a one-and-a-half week high, up for a second straight day, as a weaker currency offset disappointing May trade data, which showed exports fell 2.7 percent from a year earlier, down for the first time in 15 months while imports fell 3.6 percent on year.

Japan tax hike to blame for weak trade data?

The yen fell to a one-week low at 102.25 per dollar, which boosted exporters across the board. Panasonic rose over 3 percent while Nintendo and Fanuc both ended more than 2 percent higher.

Fast Retailing added 1 percent after saying it plans to step up expansion of its fast-fashion GU brand overseas.

China shares mixed

The mainland's benchmark Shanghai Composite index eased 0.6 percent to a one-week low, extending losses after closing down 1 percent on Tuesday.

Real-estate developers were mixed with Gemdale rallying 3.4 percent and Poly Real Estate down 0.2 percent after data showed new home prices rose 5.6 percent in May from a year earlier, slowing from April's 6.7 percent rise.

Hong Kong stocks rose 0.3 percent, snapping their two-day losing streak. CITIC Resources erased losses to jump over 3 percent after saying that more than 100,000 tons of alumina at Qingdao port was missing.

Taking a wait-and-see attitude on China: BNP

ASX 0.3% lower

Australian shares finished at their lowest levels since March 28, extending losses into a second day, while the Australian dollar continued to trade at a one-week low.

Iron ore developer Aquila Resources rallied 7 percent after rejecting a takeover offer from Mineral Resources and urging shareholders to accept an offer led by China's Baosteel Resources.

Woodside Petroleum sank 4.5 percent after Royal Dutch Shell sold a 9.5 percent stake to institutional investors at A$41.35 a share.

Kospi slips 0.6%

South Korean shares ended at a more than one-month low, snapping their two-day winning streak, dragged down by 1 percent falls in blue-chips Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors.

Sensex down 1%

Indian stocks resumed their downtrend after snapping two days of losses on Tuesday.