HONG KONG -- Chinese stocks rose Wednesday, as investor sentiment relatively improved ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates, which could see the first tightening in more than nine years. Oil companies, meanwhile, had a bumper day.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended the day 0.2% higher at 3,516.18. The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.7% to 2,280.11. Shenzhen's ChiNext index for startups was up 0.6%, while the small and midsize enterprise index improved 0.3%.
As the Chinese government on Tuesday signaled that it would not cut fuel prices for the purpose of environmental protection, oil producers were especially strong on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong markets. In Shanghai, PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) soared 1.1% and 2%, respectively.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose for the first time in 10 days, closing 2% higher at 21,701.21. The Hang Seng China Enterprise Index, consisting of mainland Chinese H shares listed in Hong Kong, climbed 2.1% to 9,538.66.
In addition to oil companies, financial stocks were among the major gainers in Hong Kong. HSBC Holdings increased 2%, while AIA Group gained 2.3%. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of China all rose. IT companies were also strong, with Tencent Holdings soaring 2.9%.
Other Asian stock markets were also up Wednesday following a rally in the U.S. market. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average jumped 2.6% to 19,049.91, while South Korea's Kospi Index was up 1.9% at 1,969.40. Taiwan's weighted index improved 1.4% to 8,184.66.
The benchmark indexes in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India and the Philippines were all up as well on Wednesday afternoon.