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Asian stocks mixed after China data deluge

A pedestrian looks at a share prices board in Tokyo, Japan.
Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images
A pedestrian looks at a share prices board in Tokyo, Japan.

Asian stocks mostly edged up on Wednesday following fresh economic data from China that largely met expectations.

China's fixed-asset investment (FAI) increased 10.2 percent in the January-October period compared with the year-earlier period, in line with expectations, slightly coming down from the 10.3 percent gain recorded in the January-September period.

Industrial production cooled to 5.6 percent year-over-year in October, from September's 5.7 percent level and missing the expected 5.8 percent by economists polled by Reuters. Retail sales in China rose 11.0 percent on-year in October, marginally higher than September's 10.9 percent jump.

Wall Street had offered no direction, with major U.S. averages finishing narrowly mixed overnight. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 edged up 0.2 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.2 percent, pressured by a more than 3 percent decline in Apple.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
---
HSI
---
ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
---
KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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Nikkei adds 0.1%

Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged up to its highest close since August 21, extending a four-session winning streak.

Among gainers, large-cap oil exploration company Inpex leaped 4.2 percent and construction counters such as Kajima and Obayashi advanced 2.2 and 1.8 percent respectively, on the back of strong earnings.

Firms related to the iPhone maker mostly closed down, with Nidec and Alps Electric shedding 0.1 and 0.4 percent respectively, while Murata rebounded 0.6 percent.

Among other laggards, heavyweight components SoftBank lost 1.1 percent and brokerages such as Nomura Holdings and Daiwa Securities notched down 0.9 and 0.4 percent respectively.

Amid a slightly stronger yen trading near the edge of 123 against the U.S. dollar, export-oriented counters such as Toyota Motor shed 0.4 percent, while Canon and Panasonic retreated more than 1 percent each.

China stocks rebound

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index erased losses to close up 0.3 percent following the data releases, while the blue-chip CSI300 Index settled near the flatline.

Small-caps continued to outperform the major indexes, with the Nasdaq-style ChiNext board rising 2.7 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was little moved.

Shares of Tencent jumped 1.7 percent in Hong Kong after the Shenzhen-based internet giant reported a 32 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, with solid revenue growth in mobile games and advertising.

By contrast, Chow Tai Fook skidded 7.4 percent to a record low after the jeweller warned that first half profit could halve from a year ago.

Also in focus, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing dropped 1.2 percent following the announcement of quarterly results.

In other news, the vice mayor of Shanghai in charge of its free trade zone is being investigated for suspected "serious breaches of discipline", the antigraft watchdog of the ruling Communist Party said on Tuesday.

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Taiex falls 1.4%

Taiwan's weighted index hit a five-week trough, driven down by shares of Apple suppliers.

Large-cap Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) fell 1.4 percent, after reporting on Tuesday that October sales rose 1.2 percent from a year earlier.

Hon Hai Precision Industry, the world's biggest electronics component maker and a major assembler of iPhones, closed down 1.3 percent after it posted a 7 percent rise in October sales.

ASX gains 0.5%

Australia's S&P ASX 200 index notched up, as hefty buy orders for banking shares offset a sell-off in market bellwether BHP Billiton.

Australia and New Zealand Banking was the top winner on Wednesday, up 2.8 percent, while National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia climbed more than 1 percent each. Westpac slumped 2.5 percent after trading ex-dividend.

BHP shares tumbled nearly 3 percent, extending a sell-off sparked by last week's deadly dam burst at the global miner's jointly owned iron-ore mine in Brazil.

Fortescue Metals outperformed fellow miners, closing up 3.5 percent, after announcing a $750 million offer to speed up its debt repayments.

Dulux Group shares rallied 2.2 percent, thanks to a 11.5 percent increase in net profit for the 12 months ended September 30.

Kospi flat

South Korea's Kospi index finished flat amid concerns over the state of China's economy.

Heavyweights Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor closed up 0.9 and 0.3 percent respectively, but smaller domestic carmaker Kia Motors slumped 1.7 percent.

SK Innovation and S-Oil lost nearly 2 percent each, as U.S. crude oil prices fell in Asian trade after industry data showed an increase in U.S. stockpiles.

On the domestic data front, South Korea's unemployment fell to a seasonally adjusted 3.4 percent in October, down from 3.5 percent in September, marking a 9-month low.

Markets in India are closed for the Diwali festival.