Asian stocks finished mixed Wednesday following a late-session decline in Hong Kong and Singapore as investors took profits in the wake of a two-day rally.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Average gained 0.9% to close at its highest in nine weeks. Nikko Cordial shares surged over 13% as investors bought into the brokerage house and its rivals following Citigroup's announcement that it would buy out minority shareholders in Nikko.
Australian shares ended unchanged, with financial shares extending gains on receding worries about global credit markets, but recent strong gainers such as BHP Billiton pulling back from record peaks.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed over 1% higher to hit a fresh peak, only to turn negative later in the session and close 2.6% lower. HSBC Holdings helped propel blue chips as Europe's top bank tracked gains in global peers amid hopes that the worst of the credit squeeze has passed.
The Straits Times Index also had a late-session slump, despite an early rally led by property and telecommunications stocks. The Singapore index finish 1% lower.
Markets in China and South Korea are closed for a holiday. South Korea reopens Thursday and Chinese markets resume trading on October 8.