Asian Stocks Mostly Higher Wednesday

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Asian shares mostly rose Wednesday as investors remained wary ahead of the vote on Britain's possible exit from the European Union, but relieved that the U.S. Federal Reserve would remain cautious in raising interest rates.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.6 percent down to 16,065.72. China's Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.6 percent to 2,896.43. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.6 percent to 20,800.65. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent to 5,270.90. South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.5 percent at 1,992.58. Southeast Asian markets were mostly up.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "With the 'undecided' vote still at a significant level, the swing factor to either side continues to remain a real possibility," said Nicholas Teo, trading strategist of KGI Fraser Securities of the Britain's referendum, as majority of polls showed "remain" with a slight lead over "leave" sentiment. "With the outcome still too close to call, traders have taken big bets off the table riding only on small positions leftover."

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks rose Tuesday as investors were relieved to hear Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen say the Fed would remain cautious in raising interest rates. Stocks hardly budged for most of the day as investors were occupied by Yellen's Congressional appearance and the looming vote on Britain's possible withdrawal from the European Union. For the second day in a row, stocks traded higher and bond prices fell as investors felt a bit surer that Britain will stay in the EU. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 24.86 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,829.73. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.65 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,088.90. The Nasdaq composite added 6.55 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,843.76.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 39 cents to $50.24 a barrel in New York. On Tuesday, it fell 52 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $48.85 a barrel. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, was up 31 cents to $50.93 a barrel in London. On Tuesday, it slipped 3 cents to $50.62 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 104.55 yen from 104.76 yen the previous day. The euro rose to $1.1267 from $1.1251 on Tuesday.