Asia Markets

Asia stocks mostly higher; Japan, Shanghai at fresh multi-year highs

Asian equities were mostly higher on Wednesday, with indices in Japan and Shanghai ending at fresh multi-year highs.

A record finish on Wall Street overnight boosted sentiment in the region. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a record finish on Tuesday after data showed November U.S. auto sales clocked their best month since 2003.

Higher oil prices also contributed to gains. U.S. oil and Brent crude both rebounded nearly $1 in Asian trade in what has been an extremely volatile week for oil markets.

Investors also digested data showing Beijing's official non-manufacturing PMI figure rising to 53.9 in November, a touch higher than October's nine-month low of 53.8.

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Attention now turns to a raft of U.S. data later on Wednesday, including the ADP report on private payrolls, the ISM non-manufacturing survey and the Federal Reserve's beige book report on the economy.

Shanghai gains 0.6%

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite closed at a new three-year peak for the second consecutive day after a choppy session. On Tuesday, the index surged 3 percent on rumors that the People's Bank of China (PBoC) may unveil a cut in reserve requirements for banks, according to Reuters.

Financials capped larger gains on the index as investors booked profits on recent gains; New China Life Insurance lost 6 percent while Everbright Bank fell 5 percent and China Pacific eased nearly 3 percent.

Hong Kong stocks reversed gains, dropping 0.7 percent after rallying over 1 percent on Tuesday.

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Nikkei 0.3% higher

Japan's benchmark index ended at a new seven-year high, gaining for a fourth straight session, as the yen weakened to a new seven-year low against the U.S. dollar.

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Airbag maker Takata surged 2.6 percent on news it is forming an independent review panel to investigate airbag safety issues.

Drugmaker Otsuka Holdings tanked 5 percent after announcing that it is making a $3.5 billion play for U.S.-based Avanir Pharmaceuticals.

ASX up 0.8%

Australia's benchmark index ended at a one-week high as investors shrugged off data showing the economy grew a slower-than-expected 0.3 percent on quarter during the July-September period. However, the Australian dollar dropped to a fresh four-year low against the greenback on the news.

Miners outperformed, with Fortescue Metals rising over 5 percent and Atlas Iron up 3 percent.

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Ten Network slumped 6 percent after announcing that it received several takeover offers.

Meanwhile, New Zealand stocks rallied over 1 percent.

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Kospi adds 0.2%

South Korean shares tracked Asia-wide gains, moving further away from a one-and-a-half week low hit earlier this week.

Hyundai Motor added 0.6 percent despite a 4 percent annual fall in its November U.S. auto sales.

Emerging markets lower

Indian shares snapped their two-day losing streak after the Reserve Bank of India left rates on hold in the previous session.

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Meanwhile, Malaysia's benchmark index fell over 1 percent to its lowest level since October 2013 while the dropped to a new four-year low against the dollar.