Asian stocks unable to gain traction after Bernanke but China outperforms
Asian shares were mostly lower on Wednesday as a negative handover from Wall Street overshadowed optimistic remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Speaking at the annual National Economists Club members dinner in Washington, Bernanke said the U.S. central bank would maintain its easy monetary policy for as long as needed and will only begin to reduce bond-buying once it is assured that labor market improvements will continue.
Attention now turns to the release of the minutes from the central bank's October meeting, due around 2 pm ET Wednesday, for further clues on the Fed's $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program.
(Read more: If Fed minutes reveal taper talk, watch yields)
Nikkei 0.3% lower
Japan's benchmark index erased early gains to crawl below the flat line despite a weaker currency and better-than-expected trade data for the month of October.
Financials including insurers and banks under-performed as investors locked in profits. Tokio Marine Holdings, T&D Holdings and Mizuho eased over 1 percent each.
Sharp surged 7.5 percent on news that it may get an original equipment manufacturing deal to make copy machines under the Hewlett-Packard brand.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan kicks off a two-day monetary policy meeting later today with no major policy changes expected.
(Read more: Are Japan's stocks ready to rumble on?)
Shanghai up 0.6%
The benchmark Shanghai Composite managed to close at its highest levels in over a month after bouncing between gains and losses throughout the session.
Currency movements were in focus after China's central bank said it plans to make the yuan more easily traded, which could mean increased strength for the currency. The yuan was steady at 6.0918 per dollar throughout Asian trade.
Financials were among some of the top performers with Hua Xia Bank up 1.4 percent and China Construction Bank 1 percent higher.
(Read more: China makes right noises on yuan, but doubts remain)
Sydney slips 0.8%
Australia's resource-benchmark S&P ASX 200 closed at its lowest level in over a month, extending losses into a third straight session, thanks to continued weakness in financials and resources.
Australia New Zealand Banking led losses by over 1 percent while National Australia Bank eased 0.8 percent. Blue-chip miners also weighed on the index with Fortescue Metals down by 1.5 percent while BHP Billiton eased 0.9 percent.
Consulting services firm WorleyParsons plunged 26 percent after downgrading full-year earnings.
(Read more: Is Australia at a tipping point, literally?)
Kospi 0.7% lower
South Korea's benchmark index moved off the previous day's three-week high, breaking its four-day winning streak, as investors booked profits on large-cap stocks.
Emerging markets ease
Philippine shares extended their losses by 1.8 percent and hit a two-month low while India's benchmark index slipped 1.2 percent.
— By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter