Asian Stocks March Higher, Sydney Gains 3%

Major Asian markets put on a strong showing on Wednesday, tracking a Wall Street rally that came on the heels of the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to leave interest rates unchanged.

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Japan's Nikkei 225 Averagecharged ahead on Wednesday, bolstered by oil prices that touched a three-month low,closing 2.6 percent higher while the broader Topix Index rose more than 2.4 percent.

Shares in Sony bounced more than 5.6 percent on Wednesday after the electronics maker said on Tuesday it had agreed to buy Bertelsmann's 50 percent stake in their Sony BMG music joint venture for around $900 million.

A stronger dollar also boosted exporters such as Hitachi. Trading firms such as Mitsubishi, battered earlier this week, also climbed.

Top lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group pared earlier losses to close 1.2 percent lower after it reported a 66 percent slide in first-quarter profit on Tuesday, hurt by more credit-related losses and a sputtering domestic economy, and stuck to its forecast for virtually no growth this year.

GS Yuasa soared as much as 10 percent on reports in the Nikkei business daily saying the firm will ramp up production of lithium-ion batteries five times more than originally planned.

South Korea's KOSPI also made sharp gains to close 2.8 percent higher, boosted by the rally in Wall Street overnight after the U.S. Fed's decision to hold interest rates steady, while lower oil prices supported transport and manufacturing issues.

Hynix Semiconductor soared 8 percent on news it is joining forces with Numonyx to produce NAND flash memory chips over the next five years.

But telcos weighed on the market with hanarotelecom sliding more than 6 percent as it swung to a net loss in the second-quarter.

Australian shares snapped out of a three day sell-off to close 3 percent higher, as investors took courage from the rally on Wall Street, falling oil prices and the prospect of easing interest rates in Australia. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 had fallen 3.2 percent over the previous three sessions.

Banks led the gainers, with big players such as ANZ advancing 5 percent. Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rode on the positive sentiment, each gained more than 3 percent despite weaker commodity prices.

Singapore shares also tracked the region higher, with the Straits Times Index gaining 0.9 percent as investors took their lead from Wall Street's rally overnight after the Federal Reserve's assessment of the U.S. economy and a drop in oil prices eased worries about the health of the world's largest economy.

Great Eastern rose more than 1 percent despite the insurance company posting an 89 percent plunge in quarterly earnings.

The Shanghai Composite Index trimmed the morning's gains to stand 1.1 percent higher at the close, led by a rebound in financial shares.

Hong Kong markets were closed due to a typhoon warning. But the island's leading carrier Cathay Pacific reported first-half earnings, surprising investors with a larger-than-expected net loss due to higher jet fuel costs and a one-time fine that offset stronger passenger numbers.

In New York Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 331.62, or 2.9 percent, to close at 11615.77. The S&P 500 advanced 2.9 percent, and the Nasdaq added 2.8 percent.

The Fed's Open Market Committee held its target for interest rates at 2 percent Tuesday, with one of the six members, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, dissenting, calling for a rate increase.