China stocks mixed
The benchmark Shanghai Composite ticked up 0.3 percent, while the Hang Seng Index slipped 0.2 percent.
Brokerages declined despite news that China's securities regulator lifted rules implemented in July that required them to buy more shares than they sold each day for propriety trading. The rules were imposed after a months-long market rout.
"This could improve sentiment towards the Chinese market and brokers as the emergency measures during market rescue are gradually phased out," Credit Suisse said in a note Wednesday. "The notice is further supporting evidence that regulators may perceive the market has returned to normalcy, which we believe will reduce investors' concern in relation to policy risk on China brokers and improve sentiment."
But brokerage shares on the mainland still fell, with Shanghai-listed Citic Securities fell 1.5 percent and Haitong Securities shed 0.2 percent.
In Hong Kong, Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings slipped 0.7 percent after losing a bid to buy utility firm Power Assets Holdings.
Nikkei down 0.4%
The Nikkei 225 shed the previous session's gains, closing down 0.4 percent, with sentiment dampened by minutes of the Bank of Japan's October 30 meeting, in which members said the Japanese economy was likely to grow at a slower pace in 2017 due to sales tax hikes.
Heavyweight electronic exporters fell, with Sony and Panasonic clsing down 1.9 percent and 1.7 percent respectively. After a three-session, 25 percent surge in shares of Sharp on news that banks may forgive its loans, the stock erased a nearly 15 percent intraday rise to close flat.
Yahoo Japan declined 1.5 percent after ratings agency S&P revised the firm's outlook from stable to negative due to weak operating performance.