Nikkei hits 15-month closing high; volumes thin

- Asian stocks fell Wednesday as the Fed met to decide on whether to hike interest rates in view of improvements in the US economy.

Market attention will be squarely focused on Fed Chair Janet Yellen's comments to gauge the future path of interest rates.

As markets opened here, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dropped 72.06 points, or 0.37 percent, from Wednesday to 19,505.32. "Any increase on the current indications of a further three hikes this year could disrupt equity markets".

ENERGY: Oil prices bounced after a slump in US trading fueled by oversupply concerns. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged 0.1 percent higher to 24,309.93, while the Shanghai Composite shed almost 1.0 percent to 3,237.45. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 75 cents to $48.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Strong data out of China this week have sparked a fresh rally in Hong Kong stocks .HSI , while Indian shares climbed to a record high on Tuesday as investors saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landslide victory in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh as endorsing his economic reform agenda. Brent crude, which is used to price global oils, gained 5 cents to $51.40 a barrel.

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets were little changed on Monday as investors took a wait-and-see mode.

Fast Retailing, the operator of Uniqlo clothing chain, fell 1.9 percent after the Nikkei Business Daily reported that its rivals were planning to expand aggressively to new markets.

Banking and insurance stocks underperformed, with their sector indexes slipping 0.9 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, after U.S. Treasury yields fell sharply in reaction to the Fed's stance.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 114.81 yen from 114.88 yen while the euro held steady at $1.065.

The Labor Department said on Tuesday that its producer price index for final demand increased 0.3 percent last month after rising 0.6 percent in January. Indonesia rose as much as 1.13 percent to a near two-year high, led by Bank Rakyat and Bank Central Asia.