Asia Markets

Japan's Nikkei lower as major automakers decline

Key Points
  • The Nikkei closed lower as shares of Japanese automakers fell on the back of poor September auto sales in the U.S.
  • Toyota fell about 2.56 percent while Honda saw losses of 3.84 percent.

Asia markets were mostly lower on Wednesday.

In Hong Kong, the saw a partial recovery from its earlier losses but remained lower by around 0.2 percent as of 3:10 p.m. HK/SIN.

In Australia, the ASX 200 was higher by 0.32 percent to close at 6,146.1, with shares of gold miners rising. Newcrest Mining saw a gain of 3.3 percent while Evolution Mining was higher by 3.8 percent.

The slipped by 0.66 percent to close at 24,110.96, while the Topix index fell by 1.17 percent to end the trading day at 1,802.73.

Some strategists, however, are not worried about the longer term outlook for Japanese stocks.

"If you look at Japan, the economy's sort of improving and it's not subject to the U.S. trade war right now," Kevin Leung, an executive director of investment strategy at Haitong International Securities, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday morning.

"If you're looking from a longer term perspective... I'm not too worried about the Japanese market," he added.

Markets in China and South Korea were closed for a public holiday.

Japanese autos take a hit

Shares of major Japanese automakers fell on the back of poor September auto sales in the U.S., with Toyota falling by 2.94 percent while Honda saw losses of 4.25 percent on Wednesday.

Some analysts, however, say the drop in auto sales should not be a major concern.

"I don't think it's quite that bad, only because it's compared to last September which was a really high month because of the replacement demand from Hurricane Harvey and you see that when you look at the (seasonally adjusted annual rate)," Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book, told CNBC's "Street Signs" Wednesday.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate refers to a rate adjustment applied to data in a bid to remove the impact of seasonal variations.

Sharp offers update on OLED foray

On Wednesday, Japan's Sharp announced that it would be selling its first smartphone with an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen in Japan later in 2018. The company also said it was looking to sell its OLED screens to other smartphone makers even though no deals had been reached yet.

Sharp's entry comes as it seeks to catch up with other manufacturers such as South Korea's Samsung Electronics and LG Display.

Following the announcement, shares of Sharp declined by 1.01 percent for the day while stocks of parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry's slipped by 0.38 percent.

Commodities and currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.339 as of 3:15 p.m. HK/SIN, weakening from its earlier high.

The lost its earlier gains to trade lower at 113.82 against the U.S. dollar, while the remained lower at $0.7171, as of 3:17 p.m. HK/SIN.

In the oil markets, prices saw gains in the afternoon of Asian trade. As of 3:19 p.m. HK/SIN, the global benchmark Brent crude futures contract was higher by 0.22 percent at $84.99 per barrel, while the U.S. crude futures contract advanced by 0.2 percent at $75.38 per barrel.

The spike in oil prices in recent weeks has weighed on the Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee. As of 3:30 p.m. HK/SIN, the rupiah was at 15,070 per dollar, after earlier touching its weakest level since 1998.

The rupee also saw a record low of 73.415 against the greenback, but saw a partial recovery and was trading around 73.08 as of 3:34 p.m. HK/SIN.

— Reuters contributed to this report.