Asia-Pacific Markets

Asian Stocks Close Mixed, Sydney Higher on Strong GDP

Asian stocks closed mixed in subdued trading on the lack of a lead from U.S. markets which were closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Japanese stocks stayed in negative territory as investors were still spooked by Monday's data showing an unexpected drop in capital spending. The broader TOPIX index also lost ground, falling below the 1,600 mark at one point during the session.

But stocks in the bridge-making sector rose on the back of a Nikkei report saying Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had agreed to merge their bridge construction businesses to better compete in a shrinking market.

The Australian market defied the broader decline thanks to surprisingly strong GDP data in the second-quarter. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 18.6 points at 6,285, extending a six-week high.

Seoul shares lost their early gains to trade flat with a downside bias. The benchmark KOSPI hovered at the 1,880 mark.

Korea Exchange Bank was the big winner, surging more than 5% to an intraday high of 15,800 won, after UK-based HSBC agreed to buy a controlling stake in the South Korean bank. But rival Kookmin Bank eased on worries it would lose its competitive edge in its home market. HSBC's Hong Kong-listed shares fell 2%.

The Hang Seng Index breached the 24,000 level, though it struggled to sustain those gains and closed flat.

China Construction Bank leapt more than 4% to tap a record high of HK$6.82, after the country's securities regulator said it would review a domestic listing plan by the mainland lender this Friday.

Singapore's Straits Times Index turned positive in afternoon trading, but finished 0.3% lower. Fraser & Neave rose 1.8% on a Business Times report saying SingTel's former CEO Lee Hsien Yang would was tipped to become the conglomerate's chairman.