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Asian shares see sharp losses; Nikkei bucks trend as yen hits 6-year-low

Fears that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates sooner rather than later sent Asian indices spiraling on Wednesday, with Sydney, Hong Kong and Taipei markets hitting fresh lows.

U.S. shares tumbled overnight, taking their cues from rising Treasury yields overseas and domestically, after fresh research from the San Francisco Fed suggested that investors' expectations for rate hikes lag those of the Fed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.6 percent while the S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent. The Nasdaq lost 0.9 percent.

Read MoreInterest rate worries hang over stocks

In Asia, traders were focused on the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China. South Korean markets remain closed for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

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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Mainland shares down

China's Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.4 percent on Wednesday, as concerns about the mainland's credit supply hurt sentiment.

Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday that China's money supply grew 12.8 percent in August, slower than July's 13.5 percent growth and below analysts' expectations for a 13.5 percent growth, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Real estate developers Vanke and Poly Real Estate tumbled 2 percent, respectively. The latter reported that its contract sales slipped almost 1 percent for the month of August.

"It's not a secret the economy isn't firing as well as it used to, but the government certainly doesn't seem to be in any rush to stimulate," wrote IG's market strategist Stan Shamu in a note. "There is still plenty of data due out of China this week and perhaps this warrants some caution."

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index suffered steep losses to hit a one-week low after traders returned from a public holiday.

Read MoreBig screens - key to selling more iPhones in China?

Taipei loses 0.8%

Taiwan's key TAIEX index ended Wednesday at a three-week low, failing to get a lift from Apple's latest releases. However, the bourse managed to trim losses as tech shares recouped losses.

Apple's assembler Pegatron slumped 2 percent while supplier Hon Hai Precision dropped 1 percent.

Sydney skids 0.6%

Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 plunged to a three-and-half-week low after suffering its biggest one-day loss in a month, following a sharp reversal in a study of Australian consumer sentiment.

The survey of 1,200 people by the Melbourne Institute and Westpac showed the index fell a seasonally adjusted 4.6 percent in September, from August when it jumped 3.8 percent.

Deteriorating iron ore prices weighed on mining majors; Fortescue Metals plummeted nearly 3 percent while Whitehaven Coal lost 1.8 percent.

Read MoreHow low will yen go? Depends on the dollar

Tokyo rebounds 0.3%

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index bucked Asia-wide losses to return above the flatline in the afternoon session, helped by a soft yen which traded at a fresh six-week low against the greenback. Meanwhile, the Topix index finished at a one-year high.

The weak currency boosted exporter stocks; Suzuki Motor piled on 1.6 percent while Honda Motor and Canon scaled nearly 1 percent each.

Rakuten widened gains to 5 percent on news that it is buying U.S.-based cash back site Ebates for $1 billion.

Government data released just before trade showed July's core machinery orders rising for the second straight month. The leading indicator of capital spending rose 3.5 percent on-month, below expectations for a 4.0 percent rise in a Reuters poll and down from an 8.8 percent rise in June.