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Asia stocks turn mixed after China trade data; Nikkei ends down 0.4%

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Shutterstock photo - Asian stock markets came off their highs to turn mixed on Wednesday, following the release of disappointing trade data out of China.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.7%, Australia's ASX/200 Index ended 0.4% higher, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed down 0.4%.

Official trade data released earlier showed that Chinese exports fell 3.1% from a year earlier in June, confounding expectations for a 4.0% increase.

The data showed that imports declined 0.7%, bringing the country's trade surplus to USD27.1 billion for the month, broadly in line with expectations for a surplus of USD27 billion.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng edged higher as financial sector stocks led gains.

China Construction Bank shares rose 1.3%, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China added 1.1% and China Minsheng Bank advanced 1%.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the benchmark ASX/200 Index ended at a four-week high as miners were in demand.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto added 0.7% and 0.8% respectively, while Fortescue Metals Group advanced 0.9%.

Elsewhere, in Tokyo, the Nikkei retreated from a seven-week high hit earlier in the session as the yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar, weighing on exporters.

USD/JPY fell to hit a session low of 100.27, moving off the previous session's high of 101.28. A stronger yen reduces the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated, dampening the outlook for export earnings.

Mazda and Honda saw shares fall 1.2% and 0.9% respectively, while Sharp dropped 1.9%.

Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a lower open.

The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a loss of 0.5% at the open, France's CAC 40 futures shed 0.3%, London's FTSE 100 futures eased down 0.4%, while Germany's DAX futures pointed to a drop of 0.3% at the open.

The Fed was to release the minutes of its June policy meeting later in the trading day, while a speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was also in focus. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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