Asia Markets

Asia stocks mostly higher before Fed; China snaps 6-day winning streak


Asian equity markets were mostly higher on Wednesday ahead of key risk events in the United States.

The Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision and U.S. second-quarter gross domestic product are due later in the day. Reuters expects a 3 percent annual rise in economic growth while the Fed is seen reducing monthly asset purchases by another $10 billion to $25 billion a month.

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"GDP is actively watched by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and if the figure is growing at a rate higher than official estimates, chatter of rate rises will hit the Street," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in a morning note.

Concerns over Argentina were also in focus. The government and the court appointed mediator for holdout creditors will resume talks on Wednesday to avert a debt default by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Europe and the U.S. announced new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday in an effort to pressure Moscow into doing more to end rebel activity in Ukraine. The news sent U.S. stocks lower, pulling the Dow under 17,000.

Nikkei up 0.2%

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index scaled a new six-month peak for the third straight session despite the release of disappointing data before the market open. Industrial output dropped 3.3 percent in June from May, significantly below forecasts and marking the first decline in two months.

In earnings news, Honda Motor rallied 3 percent after announcing a 7.1 percent annual rise in operating profit for the April-June period, Japan Airlines lost 3.5 percent after profits fell an annual 19 percent.

Skymark Airlines slumped 13 percent after Airbus pulled the plug on its deal for six A-380 planes.

McDonald's Japan lost nearly 3 percent after the company withdrew its profit forecasts on the back of China's meat scandal involving supplier firm Shanghai Husi.

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China shares mixed

Mainland shares closed in negative territory, snapping six straight days of gains. On Tuesday, the benchmark Shanghai Composite ended at a seven-month high for the third day.

Property firms led the declines with Poly Real Estate and China Fortune Land sinking 5 percent each.

Read MoreChina to probe former security tsar on corruption

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tacked on 0.4 percent to new seven-month highs.

ASX 0.6% higher

Australia's benchmark rose to a new six-year high for a second straight day.

Tabcorp Holdings added over 1 percent on news that it reached an agreement with the ACT Government to acquire gaming business ACTTAB for $A105.5 million.

Home-loan insurer Genworth Mortgage soared10 percent after reporting a 41 percent rise in first-half net profit.

Fed may revise US growth forecast: Expert

Kospi up 1%

South Korean shares rose to their highest levels since 2011 for the second straight day and extending gains into a fourth session after June factory output came in at a near five-year high.

Among the top gainers on the benchmark Kospi, Hyundai Motor rallied 3 percent.

Hyundai Heavy, the world's largest shipbuilder, tumbled 9.5 percent after reporting a record operating loss of $1 billion for the April-June quarter.