Asia shares mixed; Australia at 6-year peak after inflation data

Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday as profit-taking offset a positive lead from Wall Street overnight.

Upbeat U.S. data sent Wall Street shares higher on Tuesday. Existing home sales hit an eight-month high in June while the consumer price index rose 0.3 percent in the month after a 0.4 percent rise in May.

Traders also said sentiment improved with tensions easing in Ukraine after pro-Russian rebels handed over bodies from the Malaysia Airlines crash site along with the black boxes on Tuesday.

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"A combination of U.S. earnings optimism, positive U.S. economic data and a slight downgrade to Russia risk has ignited [Asian] markets today," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in a note.

ASX 200
CNBC 100

Nikkei dips 0.1%

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index erased earlier gains as investors booked profits on Tuesday's near 1 percent rally. Investors showed little reaction to comments by central bank deputy governor Hiroshi Nakaso, who said that Japan would likely achieve 2 percent inflation around fiscal 2015.

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Motor manufacturer Nidec inched down 0.1 percent ahead of reporting earnings. After the market close, the company reported a 25.5 percent annual rise in first-quarter operating profit.

Apple-related shares rose after U.S. tech giant posted profits that beat expectations. Daishinku rose 1 percent while Meiko Electronics added nearly 1 percent.

Shanghai rises 0.1%

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite finished at a new one-month high for the second day, underpinned by a rally amid financials.

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Brokerage firm CITIC Securities rose 1 percent after reporting a 93.2 percent annual rise in first-half net profit. Haitong Securities jumped over 2 percent.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong shares soared to their highest levels since December 2013.

ASX gains 0.6%

Australia's benchmark index rose to new six-year highs for a second day while the Australian dollar hit a two-week high of $0.9441 following a rise in second-quarter consumer prices.

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BHP Billiton jumped over 1 percent after announcing that it beat its fiscal year 2014 iron ore production target by 4 percent.

Biotech firm Starpharma surged over 16 percent after receiving regulatory approval for its virus-killing condom.

Emerging markets higher

Indonesia's benchmark Jakarta Composite rose 0.5 percent while the rupiah jumped nearly 1 percent against the greenback as investors cheered Joko Widodo's victory in the country's presidential election.

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India's NSE index rose to a record high, led by gains in blue-chip stocks on foreign buying.

Kospi flat

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index reversed gains after hitting a new eight-month high earlier in the session.

Chip-makers weighed on the index LG Display down nearly 3 percent ahead of releasing earnings. After the market close, the company said operating profit fell by an annual 55.4 percent in the second quarter.