Asia Markets

Asian equities mixed; Australia declines after budget

Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday, with Australia in focus following the release of the country's federal budget.

"The reaction to Australia's budget has dominated Asian trade with most analysts feeling the outcome wasn't quite as aggressive as initially thought. All this means the Reserve Bank of Australia is unlikely to be hiking rates for a while, with some analysts feeling there will be no change in rates through 2014 and 2015," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in a note.

A mostly positive lead from U.S. stocks overnight lifted sentiment. The Dow rose to an intraday record of 16,735, while the crossed 1,900 for the first time, but both indices were unable to close at those levels.

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ASX falls 0.1%

Australia's benchmark index lost ground after ending at a two-week high on Tuesday as investors reacted to the government's new measures to slash the budget deficit.

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Healthcare stocks were among the biggest losers with Primary Health Care down more than 5 percent, Ramsay 0.7 percent lower and Sonic Health skidding over 4 percent.

The country's top lender by market value, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, rallied 1 percent after reporting a 16 percent rise in unaudited cash earnings of A$2.2 billion for the third quarter.

Nikkei down 0.2%

Japan's benchmark Nikkei fell as investors booked profits on Tuesday's 2 percent rally. A stronger yen also dampened sentiment as the currency moved off its previous one-week low. On the economic front, data released before the market open showed wholesale prices rising an annual 4.1 percent in April.

Publishing house Kadokawa and online video-distributor Dwango rallied 10 and 9 percent, respectively, after striking a merger deal to meet demand for new content for Japanese manga comics.

Tech giant Sony ended 1 percent higher before releasing fourth-quarter earnings. After the market close, the company said it expects to post a $489 million net loss this financial year, its sixth in seven years.

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China shares mixed

Mainland shares closed down 0.1 percent despite a rally amid property shares on news that the central bank urged banks to speed up the approvals of home loans. Real-estate developers Vanke and Poly Real Estate rose over 1 percent each while China Merchants Property ended 2.2 percent higher.

Read MoreIs China loosening its grip on the property market?

The yuan briefly hit a one-week high against the dollar after officials said they are determined to reform the country's currency regime following a meeting between U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing.

Hong Kong stocks jumped 1 percent to a three-week high, extending gains into a fourth straight session. Bank of China jumped 1.7 percent on news that it is seeking to raise $16 billion in capital by selling preferred shares.

Sensex dips 0.2%

Indian shares fell in rangebound trade after rising to their third consecutive record high on Tuesday.

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Kospi rallies 1.2%

South Korea's benchmark Kospi ended at a fresh 2014 high, extending gains into a second session, thanks to strong foreign buying amid blue-chips.

Kia Motors surged more than 4 percent while Hyundai Motor added over 2 percent.