Asia ends mixed in thin trade; Nikkei above 14,000
Asian equity markets ended mixed in thin trade on Wednesday after strong global economic data triggered fears of an early end to U.S. stimulus.
Amid gainers, Japanese stocks hit a one-week high and South Korea's Kospi index rose to a one-and-a-half week high. But the Shanghai Composite fell off a nine-week high and Australia's S&P ASX 200 moved off a near-three month high.
Hong Kong financial markets were shut due to a typhoon.
Robust data in the U.S. and Europe reinforced concerns of a reduction in the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program, analysts said. U.S. retail sales rose half a percent in July, its fastest pace in seven months, while a German survey of confidence by the ZEW institute rose more than expected in August.
Nikkei up 1.3%
Japan's benchmark index bounced between gains and losses but managed to close above the 14,000 mark for the first time a week as dollar-yen traded at a one-week high of 98.30.
Manufacturing stocks rallied on the weaker currency as it lifts their competitive edge in global markets. Index heavyweights Softbank and Fast Retailing rose over 1 percent each while glass maker Nippon Sheet Glass jumped nearly 7 percent.
In earnings news, advertising agency Dentsu ended flat following a 1.5 percent decline after posting a $38 million net loss for the April-June quarter while financial services provider Aiful tumbled over 7 percent despite reporting a 97 percent annual increase in net profit.
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Paper manufacturer Hokuetsu Kishu Paper lost over 3 percent after halving its operating profit outlook.
Shanghai eases 0.3%
China's benchmark index reversed gains in late afternoon trade to break a four-day winning streak after rising to its highest level in nearly two months. Still, the index managed to close at the 2,100 mark.
Domestic automakers benefited on news that rival foreign car-makers are being investigated for price-fixing. Tianjin Auto rallied 2.6 percent, while SAIC Motors and Chong Qing rose over 1 percent each.
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Material stocks remain in focus on news that coal and aluminium firms may be at risk of defaults given their rising debt levels as China's economy slows. Coal producers Yanzhou Minig and Datang Coal Industry lost over 1 percent each.
Australia's benchmark index fell below 5,160 points after rising to its highest level in nearly three months as investors digested the latest earnings reports.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) fell 1.2 percent despite reporting an annual 8 percent rise in full-year net profit while its total dividend increased 9 percent from a year earlier to a final dividend of $2 per share.
"Analysts and commentators alike had been calling for a final dividend of $2.12; considering CBA is priced to perfection, this slight disappointment considering the earnings figures may see a 'sell the fact' result," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in a note.
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Metals miner Oz Minerals eased 4 percent after posting a $244 million loss for the first-half while consulting services firm WorleyParsons rose 3.4 percent after reporting better-than-expected revenue.
The world's second largest blood products maker, CSL, tumbled 2.7 percent despite posting a 19 percent rise in full-year net profit.
Kospi 0.6% higher
South Korea's benchmark index rose above 1,913 points to hit a new one-and-a-half week high for a second straight session.
Apple chip suppliers extended the previous day's rally after Apple shares spiked nearly 5 percent overnight on news that billionaire investor Carl Icahn announced that he has taken a "large position" in the iPhone maker.
Automakers are in focus on news that Hyundai Motor workers could strike next week on the back of failed wage discussions. Still, shares rallied 2.6 percent.
— By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC