Asia Markets

Japan and Chinese stocks subdued; investors await Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway IPO

Key Points
  • Japan's Nikkei share average dipped in holiday-thinned trade on Wednesday.
  • Mainland Chinese markets were little changed in early trade on Wednesday, after recovering on Tuesday from a tumble earlier this week.
  • Many Asia markets were closed on Christmas, including South Korea, Australia and Hong Kong.
  • The Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway issued a prospectus on Wednesday for its Shanghai IPO, said to be potentially the largest in mainland China in almost 10 years.

Japan's Nikkei share average dipped in holiday-thinned trade on Wednesday while Nissan dropped after a top executive tasked with leading a recovery at the troubled automaker decided to resign just weeks into his new job.

The Nikkei 225 ticked down 0.17% while the broader Topix lost 0.42% by mid-day.

Many Asia markets were closed on Christmas, including South Korea, Australia and Hong Kong.

While the Nikkei was not far from a 14-month high of 24,091 hit last week, its rally on the back of optimism on the global economic outlook and U.S.-China trade negotiations has petered out with many players away for holidays.

Given the dearth of big macroeconomic events, traders focused on some shares that had some news.

Nissan Motor fell 2.2% to its lowest in nearly four months after Jun Seki, its vice chief operating officer and a former contender for CEO, said he was leaving the firm to become the president of Nidec Corp.

His decision is seen as a potential blow to the automaker's push to turn the corner on a scandal involving ousted former Chairman Carlos Ghosn and slumping sales.

Nissan shares marked the biggest drop among the 225 constituents of the Nikkei average. Nidec shares were down 0.1%.

Shimamura tumbled 7.1% after the clothing retailer cut its profit estimates for the year to February by about 25%, citing weak sales.

Sugi Holdings lost 6.7% after earnings the drugstore chain operator's quarterly earnings fell short of strong market expectations.

Japan Post Insurance dropped 2.1% and its parent Japan Post Holdings ticked down 0.3% amid media report that the CEO of Japan Post Holdings and two top executives at Japan Post Insurance will resign this week over the improper sales of insurance policies.

Japan Post Insurance has been marred by the scandal for months and its shares have lost almost 30% of their value so far this year, compared to 19% gains in the Nikkei.

Mainland Chinese stocks subdued

Mainland Chinese markets declined by noon on Wednesday, after recovering on Tuesday from a tumble earlier this week.

The Shanghai composite was flat, while the Shenzhen component rose 0.46%. The Shenzhen composite was up 0.41%.

Meanwhile, the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway issued a prospectus on Wednesday for its Shanghai IPO, said to be potentially the largest in mainland China in almost 10 years.

— CNBC contributed to this report.