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Asia300

Nikkei Asia300 index little changed before Fed policy outcome

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan ended little changed on Wednesday, as investors overlooked positive cues from the Wall Street overnight ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision.

The Nikkei Asia300 index was almost unchanged at 1,290.55, despite gains in energy stocks. Samsung SDS slumped 9% after Reuters reported that CLSA called the stock `overvalued' and recommended investors sell it. H-shares of CNOOC rose 2.3%, PetroChina advanced 3.1%, and Malaysia's Sapura Energy added 1.3%. Thailand's PTT Exploration & Production advanced 0.9%. Brent crude oil rose 0.6% on Wednesday, extending its more than 3% rally overnight. Chinese consumer-electronics company TCL jumped 5.3% in Shenzhen as it resumed transactions after a more than three-month trading halt.

Asian equities were subdued as investors looked beyond the overnight rally in U.S. stocks to record highs, awaiting the outcome of the Fed meeting. According to the CME FedWatch Tool, there is a 1-in-2 probability that the Fed will hike rates in December, it's third this year. Any increase in those odds after the policy review risks halting the recent rally in global equities. The Fed may also indicate when it intends to start its balance sheet sell-down, another possible factor that could damp risk appetite.

"Although the absence of a press conference and no new summary of economic projections may take away a chunk of the excitement, investors most probably will use this opportunity to closely scrutinize the policy statement for clues on the Fed's tightening plan," said Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at brokerage FXTM.

The county index for China edged higher by 0.1% amid gains in banking stocks. China Construction Bank (CCB) advanced 1.4% and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) rose 1.3%.

Nikkei's Hong Kong index added 0.3%. AIA Group rose 1.2% ahead of its earnings on Friday. Galaxy Entertainment Group fell 2% as casino stocks came under pressure after Wynn Macau slipped 4% even after reporting a 57% rise in second-quarter net profit.

The South Korea county index declined 0.6%. LG Display fell 1.2% after reporting second-quarter operating profit and revenues that were lower than the average estimate of analysts polled by Reuters. Hyundai Motor, down 9% this month through Tuesday, rose 1.4%. The carmaker reported that second-quarter net profit halved from a year earlier, dragged by sagging sales in its biggest market China.

The Nikkei index for India added 0.4%. Nifty 50, the county's benchmark index, closed above the psychological 10,000 level for the first time. Miner Vedanta added 2.3% after reporting a more than doubling of net profit for the June quarter. Telecom operator Bharti Airtel slipped 0.3% after reporting a 58% slump in its quarterly net profit. Two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp advanced 0.2% after profit rose 3.5% in the first quarter.

The Nikkei index for Taiwan fell 0.5%, while Singapore closed 0.4% higher.

The Thailand index was little changed. Delta Electronics Thailand added 3.5% after reporting a 13% rise in June quarter revenues, while net profit declined by over 35%. Siam Cement lost 1.2%.

The Philippines' index climbed 1.2% and Vietnam rose 1.1%. Malaysia edged higher by less than 0.1%, while Indonesia slipped 0.2%.

--Nimesh Vora and V. Phani Kumar

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