Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading up in the early deals on Wednesday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street. However, gains are modest as investors turned cautious ahead of the release of the US Federal Reserve minutes later in the day. The Federal Reserve minutes are expected to provide more insight on the probability of an interest rate increase at the Fed's March meeting. Though, Japanese stocks edged down in choppy trade as a pause in the dollar's rise against the yen kept investors on the sidelines as they waited the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's latest meeting. Among the other Asian markets, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia are modestly higher. Bucking the trend, Shanghai, and Indonesia are lower.
Hang Seng added 197.58 points or 0.82% to 24,161.21, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI gained 0.76 points or 0.04% to 1,707.31, KOSPI Index rose 2.92 points or 0.14% to 2,105.85, Taiwan Weighted increased 17.06 points or 0.17% to 9,780.99, and Straits Times was up by 13.66 points or 0.44% to 3,107.85.
On the flip side, Nikkei 225 declined 12.83 points or 0.07% to 19,368.61, Jakarta Composite dipped 3.39 points or 0.06% to 5,337.60, and Shanghai Composite was down by 4.97 points or 0.15% to 3,248.35.