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Asian shares mostly up on US record gains; Australia at 6-year peak

Asian equity markets were mostly higher on Wednesday after the S&P 500 index closed above the 2,000 mark for the first time ever.

Wall Street's record gains overnight were sparked by better-than-expected reports that cast a favorable light on the economy. Consumer confidence hit its highest level since 2007 in August while durable goods orders posted their biggest gain on record in July.

Read MoreS&P takes flight again; can US data keep it there?

Geopolitical events remained in focus following news that Israel and militant groups in Gaza agreed to halt all fighting in the war-torn region. However, there was no breakthrough in talks between leaders of Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday, but both sides agreed that there was an urgent need to de-escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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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Nikkei up 0.1%

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index bounced between gains and losses in the afternoon session, briefly hitting a new one-week low of 15,465 points. A stronger currency capped larger gains as the yen strengthened to 104 per dollar, retreating further from a seven-month low of 104.49.

Read MoreJapan data to turn up heat on BOJ action debate

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) slipped 0.3 percent after a Japanese court ordered the firm to pay $472,000 dollars after being held responsible for a woman's suicide following the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Shanghai inches up 0.1%

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite recovered from a more than two-week closing low in the previous session thanks to a rally in the aviation sector on reports that the country's first large commercial passenger jet will be entering the final assembly stage.

XiAn Aero-Engine rallied 10 percent while China Avic Electronics rose over 2 percent.

Agricultural Bank of China shed 0.4 percent after it reported slowing profit growth and rising bad loans for the second quarter late on Tuesday.

Read MoreChina foreign investment pattern changes

ASX up 0.2%

Australia's S&P ASX 200 index closed at a fresh six-year high in quiet trade. However, gains were limited due to several stocks trading ex-dividend.

Building firm Boral rallied over 4 percent after swinging to a net profit this fiscal year from a loss a year ago and announcing a dividend of 8 Australian cents.

Travel agency Flight Centre fell nearly 1 percent after its fiscal year net profit fell 16 percent.

Kospi adds 0.3%

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index rose for the third straight day, finishing at new one-week highs.

Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics gained 0.6 percent on reports that it has obtained government accreditation for a virtual reality headset.

Emerging markets gain

Thailand's benchmark SET Index jumped 0.3 percent despite weak July trade data. Exports unexpectedly fell 0.8 percent on year, missing estimates for a 4 percent rise.

India's Nifty index tacked on 0.4 percent, in sight of Monday's record high of 7,968 points.

Contact Asia

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