TOKYO, Japan - Fears of an early move by the Federal Reserve kept buyers at bay across Asia on Wednesday.
In Japan, stocks dived before recovering some losses later in the session.
"Investors are just waiting for the end of the Fed's meeting and how the market will move after that will totally depend on the outcome," Takatoshi Itoshima, a strategist at Pictet Asset Management told Reuters news agency Wednesday.
"Looking at the sell-off today, the market is expecting a hawkish move and the point is how hawkish the Fed will be."
By the close, the key Nikkei 225 had recovered to be down just 99.28 points or 0.37 percent at 27,032.85. Technology stocks took the brunt of the selling.
The index had earlier touched an intraday 13-month low.
In Hong Kong, after being flat for most of the day, stocks closed slightly higher, adding 46.29 points or 0.19 percent to 24,289.90.
China's Shanghai Composite gained 22.61 points or 0.66 percent to 3,455.67.
The Australian market was closed for the Australia Day public holiday.
The U.S. dollar was coma-lke during Asian trading Wednesday. The euro was unchanged at 1.1301 approaching the close in Tokyo. The British pound was a fraction stronger at 1.3508. The Japanese yen lingered just under the 114.00 level at 113.92. The Swiss franc was a tad firmer at 0.9175.
The Canadian dollar inched up to 1.2597. The Australian dollar was a few points stronger at 0.7161. The New Zealand dollar was largely unchanged at 0.6686.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Nasdaq Composite shed 315.86 points or 2.28 percent to close Tuesday at 13,539.29.
The Dow Jones industrials fell 66.77 points or 0.19 percent to 34,197.73.
The Standard and Poor's 500 declined 53.68 points or 1.22 percent to 4,356.45.