Asia Markets

Asia stocks mixed; ECB meeting, US jobs report in focus


Asian equities were mixed on Wednesday as caution set in ahead of key risk events this week.

Attention was on Thursday's European Central Bank meeting. Data on Tuesday showed eurozone inflation hitting a four-year low in May, which experts say may be the final trigger to bring about new stimulus measures.

Read MoreAll eyes on the ECB: Negative rate looms

Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report was also in focus. Analysts are expecting 218,000 new jobs in May, according to a Reuters poll, which would be below April's 288,000 figure.

Nikkei up 0.2%

Japanese shares managed to end at a fresh 2-month peak for the third straight session following a choppy session of trade. A weaker currency underpinned gains with the yen at a one-month low of 102.79 per dollar.

Steelmakers rallied after Credit Suisse raised the stock ratings of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal and JFE Holdings. Both stocks jumped over 3 percent each, sparking similar gains for Nisshin Steel.

Automakers gained on news that that U.S. auto sales surged to 1.6 million vehicles in May, its strongest annual sales rate since before the financial crisis. Nissan Motor closed up 1.7 percent while Mazda Motor rose over 2 percent.

Will Australia continue to enjoy strong growth?

ASX down 0.6%

Australian shares fell to a two-week low as losses in the financial sector overshadowed better-than-expected data. Australia New Zealand Banking, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank closed down 1 percent each.

A day after the Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates at a record low, Australia's first-quarter gross domestic product beat estimates to rise 3.5 percent on year.

Australand Property rallied 5.6 percent after receiving a $2.41 billion takeover offer from Singapore's Frasers Centrepoint, which was higher than a bid made by Stockland last week.

China shares lower

Shanghai stocks extended losses into a second day, down 0.6 percent at a new two-week low. Financials led the losses, with both China Merchants Bank and Huatai Securities nearly 2 percent lower

China Vanke lost more than 2 percent on news that it wants to convert its Shenzhen-listed B-shares to Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 0.6 percent after rallying 1 percent on Tuesday. Shares of CITIC Pacific were modestly lower after minority shareholders voted for the company to buy nearly all the assets of parent firm Citic Group.

Sensex flat

India's benchmark index pulled back, finishing 0.2 percent lower, after closing a new record high of 24,858 points on Monday.

South Korean markets were closed Wednesday for regional elections.