Asian markets outside Australia traded lower on 17 September (Reuters). Reuters

Asian stock markets outside Australia traded lower on 17 September ahead of a crucial US Federal Reserve meeting.

Australia's S&P/ASX finished 0.06% higher or 3.20 points at 5,251.20.

Japan's Nikkei finished 0.65% lower or 93.00 points at 14,311.67.

South Korea's Kospi finished 0.39% lower or 7.79 points at 2,005.58.

India's BSE Sensex was trading 0.02% lower or 3.54 points to 19,738.93.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was trading 0.42% lower or 98.43 points to 23,153.98

The Shanghai Composite was trading 1.88% lower or 41.90 points to 2,189.50.

Market participants exercised caution ahead of a two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting beginning today. The central bank is widely expected to announce a reduction in its $85bn a month asset-buying stimulus, following the meeting.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will address a press conference on 18 September.

Economists polled by Reuters expect the Fed to trim its bond-buys by $10bn to $75bn a month.

Wall Street Mixed

On Wall Street, most indices ended higher, supported by news that hawkish American economist Larry Summers had withdrawn from the race to head the US Federal Reserve.

The Dow finished 118.72 points higher at 15,494.78, boosted by Boeing and General Electric.

The S&P 500 closed 9.61 points higher at 1,697.60. However, the Nasdaq pared early gains and ended 4.34 points lower at 3,717.85, pulled down by index heavyweight Apple that lost 3%.

Company Stock Movements

In Tokyo, KDDI, Japan's second largest mobile phone company, fell 6.5%, while Softbank, the Japanese carrier that acquired US-based Sprint for $21.6bn, fell some 4%.

NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile carrier, will soon offer Apple's iPhones and this pulled down telecom stocks.

Pharmaceutical major Daiichi Sankyo fell 5.6% on news that the US Food and Drug Administration had imposed an import ban on medicines made at a plant of India's Ranbaxy Laboratories, a Daiichi Sankyo subsidiary.

FamilyMart, Japan's third- biggest convenience store chain, inched up 0.1% on news that its March-to-August pretax profit hit a new six-month high.

In Shanghai, property developer China Merchants Property fell 9% while rivals Gemdale and Poly Real Estate lost over 3% and 2% respectively.

In Hong Kong, Wing Hang Bank rocketed 40% on news that controlling shareholders had received takeover offers from potential buyers.

Rival Dah Sing Banking surged 18.6% on the news.

China Shipbuilding shot up 2%. The company announced on 10 September it would raise up to $1.4bn through a private share sale, to buy assets used for building warships.

In Mumbai, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, India's biggest drugmaker by market value, fell 2.56%. HDFC lost 1.49%.

In Sydney, gold miner Perseus Mining and rival Kingsgate Consolidated lost 4.6% each while Newcrest Mining shed over 2%, after gold prices dropped to a new five-week low.

In Seoul, index heavyweight Samsung Electronics lost about 3% while LG Display was down 1.6%. Several brokerages have cut their Samsung and LG earnings forecast on concerns that depreciated emerging market currencies would weaken both firms' profitability.