Asian stocks mixed; Nikkei falls 0.6% on weak industry data

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Investing.com - Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday as Japan's industry index fell and the Nikkei lost 0.6% after an impressive rally of 3.1% in the previous session.

Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported on Wednesday that All Industries Activity Index, which measures the monthly change in overall production by all sectors of the Japanese economy, fell 0.1% in January against an expected rise of 0.2%. In December it rose 0.4%.

Woodside Petroleum fell 0.7% on 41% decline in quarterly profits after project outages hit the bottom line. Brambles, the world's largest supplier of wooden pallets, rose 2.7% on rising half-year profits. Suncrop Group shares fell 2.4% after the insurance company reported a 4.5% fall in its half yearly profits due to rising claims.


In China, CCB rose 0.5%, BoCom was up 1% and Chine Vanke gained 0.7%.

In morning trade, the Nikkei fell 0.59%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.03% and the Shanghai compaosite gained 0.63%.

On Tuesday, at the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.15%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.12%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.68%.

A drop in fourth-quarter profits at Coca-Cola due in part to falling U.S. soda sales sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipping on Tuesday.

Soft data supported stocks, however.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that its general business conditions index came in at 4.48 for February, down from a 20-month high of 12.51 in January. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 9.00.

The new orders index fell to zero from a two-year high of 11 last month.

The numbers were the latest in a series of soft U.S. economic indicators that have prompted many investors to wonder whether the Federal Reserve will slow the pace of reductions to its asset-buying stimulus program, which has supported stocks since 2012.

Talk that harsh winter weather may be bruising economic indicators and not a slowdown in domestic demand bolstered equities as well as did reports tech icon Apple may buy Tesla Motors.

On Wednesday, the U.S. is to publish reports on building permits, housing starts and producer price inflation.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is to publish the minutes of its most recent policy setting meeting.

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