By Saikat Chatterjee HONG KONG (Reuters) - Asian stocks tiptoed higher on Thursday and the dollar consolidated recent gains after the U.S. Federal Reserve painted a relatively bright picture of the world's biggest economy, but a deepening sell-off in commodities kept gains in check. Prospects of stronger U.S. growth in coming months lifted Asian stocks in early trade, with Japan's Nikkei up 1.2 percent and Australian shares adding 0.7 percent. A dollar-denominated index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4 percent after Chinese stocks had a quiet opening.
U.S. interest rates have remained near zero for almost a decade and the Fed has said it will raise rates once it sees a sustained recovery in the economy. "The statement tried to just give an update on the state of the economy, which is showing some modest improvement," said Guy Haselmann, head of U.S. interest rate strategy at Scotiabank in New York. The S&P 500 gained 0.73 percent to 2,108.57 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.44 percent to finish at 5,111.73.