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Japan Leads Gains as Asia Ends Mixed

Japan and Australia led gains as Asian indices ended mixed on Wednesday.

The Nikkei 225 closed 1.2 percent higher, while Australian stocks closed 1.09 percent higher. The S&P ASX 200 posted its largest rise in seven sessions and moved above the psychological 5,000 mark.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Kospi gave up most of its gains to end the day flat, edging higher 0.08 percent, as declines in construction stocks weighed on the broader market.

In China, the Shanghai Composite closed 0.05 percent down, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 0.5 percent down.

There was some focus on China's debt levels. A senior Chinese auditor has warned local government debt has become "out of control", with the potential to spark an even larger financial crisis than the U.S. housing crash, the FT reported.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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Still, a degree of stability in global commodity markets, helped lift sentiment in equity markets.

Gold prices, which have suffered the brunt of the selling in metals, remained in focus. The yellow metal had recovered to around $1,374 per ounce on Wednesday, after suffering its steepest one-day decline ever on Monday.

"Gold has just experienced its biggest two-day rout in 30 years. The double-digit fall on Friday and Monday means it has now lost over a quarter of its value since it peaked at $1,921 an ounce in September 2011. By definition, the more than 20 percent fall in gold means that the bull market dating from 2001 is over," said HSBC in its global commodities research report.

(Read More: Why Some Gold Bugs Are Still Hanging On)

Nikkei Climbs

Exporters led the Japanese stock market higher on Wednesday, as the yen renewed its weakening trend. Toyota and Nissan rose 1.8 percent and 3.3 percent respectively and Sony and Canon closed 2.2 percent and 1.6 percent higher.

The yen fell as gold recovered some ground, helping support Japan's stock market. The yen was trading at around 98.34 per dollar, off Tuesday's high of around 95.93 per dollar.

(Read More: Safe-Haven Yen Tumbles as Gold Fears Start to Stabilize)

"Perhaps Japan has been the most interesting market in Asia today as the Nikkei outperforms the region on the back of renewed yen weakness," said Stan Shamu market strategist at IG Markets.

"USD/JPY struggled in the 98 yen congestion zone overnight and retreated into 97.63 yen early in Asia. As far as USD/JPY is concerned, it seems there is no restraining the bulls at the moment as they continue to take advantage of the recent pullback, to pile back in," he added.

Investment bank Nomura was also in the spotlight on Wednesday after the stock slumped 4.5 percent, later recouping losses to close down around 2.3 percent, as the bank rejected accusations of wrongdoing by prosecutors in Italy as part of a probe into deals the bank set up for local bank Monte dei Paschi, Reuters reported.

South Korea Turns Down

The Kospi was dragged down by declines in builders after Samsung Engineering announced on Tuesday an operating loss of 219.8 billion won ($197.12 million) for the first quarter of 2013, far below market expectations for an operating profit of about 156 billion won, Reuters reported.

The Samsung Engineering figures added to already bearish sentiment in the sector after GS Construction reported first-quarter operating losses of 535 billion won last week.

Australian Movers

Gains on television network Ten Network and telecommunications firm M2 led the index higher as both stocks surged over 5 percent.

After taking a battering over the past few sessions, gold miners saw a further sell-off Wednesday.

Silver Lake, was one of the biggest losers, trading over 4 percent down, along with Resolute Mining, which also traded over 4 percent down.

Global miner BHP Billiton was in focus on Wednesday after it released its output report, reporting a 6 percent increase in iron ore production for the final quarter of 2012. However, traders did not seem to be encouraged and the stock traded around 0.3 percent down.

Rio Tinto closed 0.7 percent lower after its new chief executive Sam Walsh announced cost-cutting measures amid a sharp downturn in demand for industrial commodities in its quarterly production report published Tuesday, Reuters reported.