Asian shares trade mixed ahead of Fed minutes

Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday, a day after heavy losses in world stock markets on nagging concerns over a potential reduction in monetary stimulus by the U.S. central bank.

Investors await minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting due out later in the day and that could provide fresh clues on when the central bank plans to taper its monthly bond purchases.

Japan's Nikkei 225 ended up 0.2 percent, reversing losses after hitting its lowest level in almost two months, while Australian shares edged 0.4 percent higher. South Korea's Kospi closed down 1.1 percent and the Hang Seng fell 1 percent in Hong Kong.

Tokyo Electric Power shares fell 9.3 percent after it said there were high levels of radiation leaking from its Fukushima nuclear plant.

(Read more: Japan nuclear plant leaks 300 tons of radioactive water)

Sony shares rallied 0.5 percent on news the tech giant had more than 1 million preorders worldwide for its new PlayStation 4 console.

ASX 200
CNBC 100

In Australia, the S&P ASX 200 index closed higher at 5,100 despite a mixed performance by mining heavyweights.

BHP Billiton closed down 2.2 percent after reporting a 30 percent drop in full-year profit on Tuesday.

(Read More: Falling commodity prices crush miner BHP profits)

Woodside Petroleum fell 1.6 percent after releasing first-half earnings on Wednesday that showed underlying profit fell by 1.5 percent to $852 million from a year earlier.

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index led losses in the region with a loss of 1.6 percent to 1,867. Bucking the trend were shares of Kia Motors, up 2.1 percent despite news that workers were planning to stage a partial strike on Wednesday. The carmaker's Cadenza model debuted in second place on Consumer Report's magazine's list of top large sedans on Tuesday.

China shares lower

Greater China shares edged lower, with Hong Kong notching up a fifth straight session of losses.

The Shanghai Composite ended flat at 2,072, while the Hang Seng Index fell 0.8 percent to 21,787.

Shares of China Coal Energy fell 0.3 percent after reporting a 38 percent drop in first half net profit from a year earlier.

Oil giant CNOOC, however, climbed more than 5 percent on news that first-half earnings results beat forecast estimates.

Focus on emerging markets

Emerging markets remained in focus after a brutal sell-off over the past two days.

Indonesia's benchmark stock index rallied 1.9 percent, recovering some ground after after Tuesday's plunge of as much as 4.5 percent to its lowest level since September 2012.

On the economic front, Malaysia is set to deliver its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data and Thailand's central bank is due to announce its monetary policy decision.