Asia-Pacific markets are mixed after Wall Street went into the Thanksgiving holiday with a broad based rally.
More than half of the stocks trading on the New York Stock Exchange were up Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also saw greater participation, with 62.9% of the stocks in the index rising. Small- and mid-caps outperformed Wednesday, rising 0.7% and 0.6%, respectively.
In Asia-Pacific, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.62% and ended at 7,029.2, extending losses from the day before.
The country saw its business activity contract at a faster pace in November, according to flash estimates from Judo Bank. Australia's composite purchasing managers index slid to 46.4, down from October's 47.6.
South Korea's Kospi recorded its fourth straight day of gains, closing 0.13% higher at 2,514.96 and the small-cap Kosdaq advanced 0.17% to finish at 815.98.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index reversed earlier losses to gain 0.92% in its final hour of trading, and the mainland Chinese CSI 300 index was 0.48% up, ending the day at 3,561.52.
Japan's markets are closed due to a public holiday.
Overnight in the U.S., all three major indexes rebounded from Tuesday's losses, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield also briefly falling to its lowest level in two months.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury briefly fell to 4.369% Wednesday morning, the lowest level since Sept. 22. It later recovered and was last little changed at 4.41%.
— CNBC's Hakyung Kim and Sarah Min contributed to this report.
Oil continues slide after OPEC delays policy-setting meeting
Oil prices slid over 1% after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, delayed its policy-setting meeting by four days. The oil cartel's meetings have been rescheduled from Nov. 25-26 to Nov. 30.
The postponement could be owed to disagreement among cartel members, said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates.
He pointed out that on one hand, African countries like Nigeria, Angola and the Congo want to see higher production quotas, while other parties like the UAE has been allowed to increase their production since January.
"This has left Saudi Arabia in the middle with the burden of the oil market supply and demand balance on their shoulders," Lipow said.
Saudi Arabia's September oil exports fell 17.1% year-on-year.
—Lee Ying Shan
Singapore inflation quickens for second straight month, higher than expectations
Singapore's consumer price index climbed 4.7% year-on-year in October, higher than the 4.1% rise seen in September.
The figure was also higher than the 4.45% expected by economists and the second straight month that the inflation rate has accelerated in the country.
The MAS core inflation measure, which strips out prices of accommodation and private transport and is used by the country's monetary authority as an inflation gauge, rose to 3.3% in October from 3% in September.
MAS explained that the increase was largely due to higher inflation for services, retail & other goods, as well as an increase in electricity & gas costs.
— Lim Hui Jie
Alibaba shares little changed after Jack Ma halts plans to cut Alibaba stake
Shares of Chinese tech giant Alibaba in Hong Kong are little changed after news that founder Jack Ma held off on plans to trim his stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant after the share price fell.
The firm's Hong Kong listed shares inched down 0.26% compared with their last close of 76.85 Hong Kong dollars ($9.86) on Wednesday.
According to an internal memo seen by CNBC, Alibaba's Chief People Officer Jane Jiang told employees that Ma has not sold a single share, and that Alibaba's stock is currently trading below the company's actual value, Jiang added, citing this as a reason Ma has not cut his stake.
Alibaba's regulatory filings on Nov. 16 revealed Ma is looking to sell 10 million shares at a value of around $870 million.
Read the full story here.
— Lim Hui Jie, Arjun Kharpal
Australia's business activity contracts at fastest pace in over two years
Australia's business activity contracted at its fastest pace in 27 months, according to flash estimates by Judo Bank.
The country's composite purchasing managers index came in at 46.4, representing a faster contraction compared with the 47.6 seen in October. Manufacturing PMI slipped to 47.7, a 42-month low, while the services PMI hit a 26-month low and stood at 46.3.
The bank's report noted that the decline was mainly due to "sharper new business downturns in both the manufacturing and service sectors."
"This was amidst widespread reports of softening economic conditions and high interest rates negatively affecting budgets," it added.
— Lim Hui Jie
CNBC Pro: Alibaba, Baidu and more: Jefferies names Asian stocks with significant 'hidden value'
Asian stock markets may have had a weak year, but excessive cash in the region's companies is a hidden opportunity for investors, according to Jefferies.
"When a company hoards cash on its balance sheet, its PE valuations look lot more expensive than what it should be, without the excess cash," the investment bank's analysts wrote.
Jefferies screened for Asian companies with "significant ex-cash value and strong fundamentals," and which it said make "good candidates" for buybacks and dividends.
— Amala Balakrishner
Keep an eye on earnings as economy starts to slow, investor says
Stocks are riding high on hopes the Federal Reserve is done with its tightening campaign. However, one market observer warned investors to keep an eye on earnings as the economy starts to show signs of slowing.
"At some point, you know, of course, a slowdown becomes a victim of its own success, so to speak," Jack Ablin, investment chief at Cresset Capital, said Wednesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch." The investor pointed to same-store sales growth that has matched inflation over the last 12 months.
"What that really means is there's no volume growth and that all of the revenue increases that a lot of retailers and other companies have enjoyed over the last 12 months was simply pricing power," Ablin added. "Well, if now prices roll over, and we see that downtrend, that could start to hurt earnings and profit margins."
The investment chief recommended investors stick to high-quality growth companies with healthy, and growing, dividends. He favors names such as medical device maker Medtronic, water company Ecolab and pharmaceutical stock AbbVie.
— Sarah Min
CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley is bullish on this emerging AI trend — and names 6 stocks to play it
One part of artificial intelligence will have an increasing role to play, according to Morgan Stanley.
The trend can help save costs, reduce latency (or lag time), among other benefits, Morgan Stanley said.
It named six companies that are set to be key beneficiaries of this trend and likely to outperform in 2024 and 2025.
— Weizhen Tan