Asian shares were volatile on Wednesday, following negative cues from Wall Street and amid lingering concerns over the global economic recovery.
U.S. stocks eased from record territory on Tuesday as investors weighed a decline in consumer confidence and better-than-expected earnings from home-improvement retailer Home Depot.
Tokyo falls 0.6%
Japan's benchmark Nikkei retreated into negative territory, after briefly trading in the green midday on Wednesday. Its dismal showing on Wednesday was a drastic difference from Tuesday's robust session, where Japanese shares surged past the 15,000 mark to hit a four-week closing high.
"For the rest of the week, the Nikkei may see directionless trade and a lack of volume because investors need more catalysts to take positions. The benchmark may stay between 14,500 and 15,000," said Masashi Oda, chief investment officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank to Reuters.
Softbank, which hit its highest level in a month following a report that the company was seeking to buy a stake in a mobile-messaging service under South Korea's Naver on Tuesday, fell over 1 percent. Automaker Toyota Motor skidded 1.3 percent while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group dunked 1.7 percent.
Panasonic however outperformed the bourse, holding onto a 6 percent gain, after the Nikkei newspaper reported that the firm is inviting a number of Japanese suppliers to join it in an investment plan with Tesla Motor.
Shanghai 0.4% higher
Mainland shares saw choppy trade on Wednesday, amid lingering concerns about its property sector and the Chinese yuan seeing continued weakness.
Property shares rebounded slightly after a two-day losing streak. Vanke and China Merchants Property rose above 1.2 percent. Only Gemdale remained in the red with a drop of 0.2 percent.
Majority of banking stocks were sluggish; Bank of China tanked 1.2 percent while ICBC slipped 1.9 percent.
Raking in gains was Sinopec, which soared 2.5 percent after its chairman Fu Chengyu said the company will soon announce the next stages of its reform plans.
Speaking about recent slumps in Chinese equity markets, Fan Cheuk Wan, CIO, Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse Private Banking told CNBC's Cash Flow, "The market has priced in imminent financial crisis in China with current valuations reflecting a big equity risk premium. In my opinion, market has already priced in very bearish growth expectations at the National People's Congress which will kick-start next Wednesday. Investors will watch out for more concrete policy signals regarding structural reform progress including the psychical reform which will address shadow banking and local government debt problem."
Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 bounced between gains and losses in rangebound trade on Wednesday but eventually managed to finish slightly higher.
Earnings season dominated the day in Sydney. AGL Energy eased losses from 1 percent to modestly fall 0.2 percent, on news that its first-half profit fell 11.4 percent after a record warm winter reduced demand for energy.
Lend Lease tumbled 4 percent after a 16 percent decline in first-half earnings. Shopping mall owner Westfield lost 3 percent, following a modest decline in annual profit after sales of less profitable assets shrunk its global portfolio.
Gains in banking stocks capped losses; National Australian Bank rallied over 1 percent while Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) rose 0.5 percent.
(Read more: Investor confidence in US, Europe spikes: Report)
Korea adds 0.3%
South Korean shares shook off early losses to enter a two-day winning streak on Wednesday.
Asiana Airlines rose steadily to gain 0.7 percent, despite news of a fine of $500,000 by U.S. regulators on Tuesday for failing to assist the families of passengers on a flight that crashed in San Francisco in July last year.
Meanwhile, the korean won posted its biggest daily gain in two weeks, as dollar unwinding by exporters prompted short-covering in the currency. It traded at 1,065, an 0.8 percent addition, against the greenback
(Read more: Once hardy Thai economy feeling the strain)
Thailand shares pared early gains to finish near the unchanged territory on Wednesday, amid continued political unrest. Investors may also be reacting to Tuesday's announcement of the latest trade data which saw the country's trade deficit balloon to $2.52 billion.
Thai Airways traded unchanged, after reporting a third successive quarterly profit loss. Advanced Info Service lost early gains to trade flat, following calls by anti-government protesters to boycott businesses linked to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
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