Asian Shares Mixed Ahead Of ECB Meet

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks ended Wednesday's session on a mixed note as investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday, at which policymakers are widely expected to cut interest rates, ramp up asset purchases or both.

China's Shanghai Composite index ended down 0.41 percent at 3,008.81 as caution prevailed ahead of the next round of U.S.-China trade talks that are likely to restart next week.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rallied as much as 1.78 percent to finish at 27,159.06 after reports the Hong Kong Government will announce another major concession to protestors.

Japanese shares ended higher for the seventh straight session, with sentiment helped by a weakening yen and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet reshuffle.

The Nikkei average jumped 205.66 points, or 0.96 percent, to 21,597.76 while the broader Topix index closed 1.65 percent higher at 1,583.66.

Automakers Toyota, Nissan Motor and Honda Motor climbed 2-3 percent as the dollar gained ground against the yen on the back of a rise in U.S. long-term interest rates. Canon advanced 1.7 percent, Panasonic jumped 2.3 percent and Nikon added 2.5 percent.

Banks Mizuho Financial, Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial jumped 2-4 percent, thanks to rising bond yields.

Apple supplier Murata Manufacturing gained 2.3 percent and Alps Alpine soared 3.6 percent after the California-based tech company announced a new lineup of iPhones.

Australian markets ended modestly higher, led by gains in the mining sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 23.90 points, or 0.36 percent, to 6,638 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 24.20 points, or 0.36 percent, at 6,752.20.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group rallied around 2 percent as iron ore prices rose on expectations that Beijing would implement more economic stimulus to boost steel demand.

The big four banks rose between 0.9 percent and 1.7 percent as Treasury yields recovered.

Oil and gas majors ended mostly lower, with Santos losing as much as 3.3 percent after Red Sky Energy struck a farm out deal and operating agreement with the company on its Cooper Basin oil and gas licences.

Seoul stocks ended higher ahead of a long holiday weekend. The local markets will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Chuseok holiday, the Korean autumn harvest celebration.

The benchmark Kospi climbed 17.12 points, or 0.84 percent, to 2,049.20, extending gains for a sixth straight session on expectations that the ECB will dole out stimulus this week.

Steelmakers led the surge, with Posco climbing 6.1 percent and Hyundai Steel rallying 3 percent.

New Zealand shares tumbled, dragged down by telecom companies and utilities as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologized for her party's handling of an alleged sexual assault.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index plunged 217.70 points, or 1.95 percent, to 10,924.88. Shares of Spark New Zealand and Meridian Energy fell around 5 percent.

Indonesian shares were modestly higher. Survey data from Bank Indonesia showed that the country's retail sales grew 2.4 percent year-on-year in July after a 1.8 percent slump in June. In May, sales rose 7.7 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed after the release of underwhelming Chinese inflation data and amid reports that Beijing will buy more American agricultural products to position itself for a better trade deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 inched up marginally while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index ended flat with a negative bias.

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

Latest Markets Videos