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Taiwan leads Asian gains


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South Korea's market was among those to finish higher Wednesday.
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(CNN) -- Asian markets have closed mainly higher Wednesday as investors welcomed Wall Street's gains and awaited the Fed rate decision.

Taiwan posted the best gain, up 1.7 percent on a strong showing for its tech stocks.

New Zealand put on 1 percent to close at a record high. South Korea and Hong Kong also had strong results.

Japan was mixed, with the Nikkei 225 closing virtually flat and the broader Topix up about 0.2 percent.

Australia put on 0.3 percent and Singapore is about half a percent higher near the close.

All eyes are on the U.S. Federal Reserve, which will make a decision later Wednesday on interest rates.

Market speculation is for rates to rise by a quarter of a percentage point.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 finished the day down 0.02 percent to 11,858.87 after trading in a narrow range. On Tuesday, the index dipped 0.20 percent.

The broader Topix index managed a gain of 0.22 percent to 1189.60. The index rose 0.03 percent the day before.

The dollar is quoted at 108.65 yen in Tokyo late Wednesday, above the 108.35 yen it bought in New York Tuesday.

Japanese banks were mixed, with MTFG up 2 percent to 1.01 million yen and Mizuho 0.4 percent higher at 495,000 yen. UFJ was down 2 percent to 482,000 yen.

Mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo slipped half a percent to 195,000 yen and Toshiba lost 2.6 percent to 439 yen.

But there were gains for consumer electronics leader Sony and top carmaker Toyota, which again ranked first in a U.S. reliability survey. (Full story)

In Seoul, the Kospi was up 0.91 percent to 785.79, with Samsung Electronics putting on 1.27 percent to 477,000 won.

Big exporter Hyundai Motor jumped 4 percent to 44,450 won after a two-day strike by unionized workers.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 finished 0.32 percent ahead to 3532.9. Media group News Corp rose half a percent and resources leader BHP Billiton put on 1.3 percent to A$12.53.

Taiwan's Taiex closed 1.71 percent ahead to 5839.44, lifted by a 5 percent gain to T$48.40 for market heavyweight TSMC. Rival chip foundry UMC also rose 5 percent to T$25.00.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index is 1.34 percent higher to 12,278.61, with leading bank HSBC up almost 1 percent to HK$117.50.

Hutchison Whampoa is 1.9 percent higher to HK$53.25 on talk of a $2 billion listing for its international phone unit. (Full story)

Singapore's Straits Times index is 0.5 percent higher to 1839.57. Singapore Airlines is up 2.8 percent to S$11.10.

In New Zealand, the Top 50 finished 1 percent higher at a record 2696.07. The market's biggest stock, Telecom NZ, put on 1.5 percent to NZ$5.88.

U.S. stocks advanced Tuesday as consumer confidence surged to a two-year high. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.5 percent to 10,413.43. The Nasdaq composite index closed up 0.8 percent at 2,034.93. (Full story)


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