TOKYO -- Today's expected interest rate hike in the U.S. is now truly in the price of most Asian shares. Hours ahead of the meeting by the

Federal Open Market Committee,

which is expected to raise rates by half a percentage point, stocks were up across Asia.

In Tokyo, traders focused mostly on earnings results, while in Hong Kong the key mover was ongoing talks between China and the European Union over the mainland's potential inclusion in the

World Trade Organization.

Japan's key

Nikkei 225

index rose 237.56 points, or 1.4%, to 17,551.25, while the


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, climbed 15.72, or 1%, to 1643.07. The


small-cap index shed 1.34, or 1.4%, to 91.83, while the Nikkei


index lost 18.37 to 1944.27.

Rather than today's expected rate increase, the focus now is on the rest of the statement due later today from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which could provide a clue as to the central bank's disposition to raise rates later this year, traders said. Asian exporters are most afraid of a slowdown in demand from the U.S. if the American economy cools following a hike in the cost of money.

Auto shares were mostly lower. A strong yen in 1999 dented profits by 14% at

Honda Motor

(HMC) - Get Report

, which slipped 350 yen, or 8.5%, to 3750, while

Toyota Motor

(TM) - Get Report

shed 130, or 2.5%, to 5060.

Large tech and electronic shares were mixed in lethargic trading.



rose 15 to 2140,


climbed 80, or 2.9%, to 2890 and

Pioneer Electronic

gained 210, or 6.4%, to 3510, while


(SNE) - Get Report

fell 50 to 11,670.

Oracle Japan

shot up 5000, or 7.3%, to 73,100 after announcing a 3-for-2 stock split today.

The greenback inched higher against the yen, fetching 109.03 yen.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index climbed 278.99 points, or 1.9%, to 15,160.29 as investors covered short positions in expectation that the U.S. and other markets would rally, after the Fed hikes rates by an expected 50 basis points. Anticipation that China would strike a deal with the EU to enter the WTO this week is also lifting many China shares listed on the Hong Kong exchange, including


, up HK$0.10, or 6.8%, to 1.58.

China Telecom

(CHL) - Get Report

climbed 1.50, or 2.7%, to 57.00, while

Hutchison Whampoa


fell 7.00, or 6.6%, to 99.00 after going ex-dividend today.



index rose 18.10, or 2.5%, to 746.77, while Taiwan's


index gained 262.80, or 3.1%, to 8727.82.