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Asian shares mixed with Australia's ASX down after sharp gains

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Shutterstock photo - - Asian shares traded mixed Wednesday, with Tokyo unchanged after investors shrugged off data showing a contraction in the Japanese economy, and with the market digesting earnings news in Australia.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was flat after data showed that the country's real gross domestic product shrank by 1.7% in the April to June period, slightly better than expectations of a 1.8% quarter-on-quarter fall. On an annualized basis, the economy shrank by 6.8%. The fall coincides with a hike in Japan's consumption tax, which was increased to 8% at the beginning of April.

Elsewhere in Asia, stocks lacked a clear direction after Wall Street ended lower on Tuesday. In China, both Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and the Shanghai Composite traded roughly flat.

South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.2%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.3%, with Sydney retreating from a substantial 1.3% increase in the previous session--a move prompted by data showing a pickup in business sentiment.

Also in Sydney, CSL Ltd (ASX:CSL) jumped 2.6% higher after the world's second-largest blood-products maker said it would consider another share buyback after it reported a small rise in its annual net profit.

Overnight, U.S. stocks finished largely lower in a subdued session void of major U.S. economic indicators, with investors monitoring events in Ukraine amid concerns that tensions could flare anew.

The Dow 30 fell 0.06%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.16%, while the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.27%.

Russia has said it is wrapping up military exercises on its border with Ukraine and has added the country is working with the International Red Cross to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which drew applause in recent sessions.

Still, uncertainty over whether the ceasefire can last watered down stocks on Tuesday, as concerns began to brew that Russian trucks shipping aid into Ukraine may be used as for covert operations that could escalate into more military conflict.

Concerns the standoff may be softening the global economy also kept U.S. stocks in negative territory, with German data priming such fears.

The ZEW Centre for Economic Research reported that its index of German economic sentiment dropped to 8.6 this month, down from 27.1 in July. It was the weakest reading in 20 months and came in well below economists' forecasts of 18.2.

The current conditions index deteriorated to a seven-month low of 44.3 from 61.8 in July, worse than expectations for a decline to 55.5. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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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