Asian stocks were mostly higher in the afternoon session Wednesday. Trade was thin as many investors were away for Christmas holidays. Japan closed higher be South Korea declined.
Other Asian markets including Australia and Hong Kong were shut, and many markets in Europe will also be closed.
Financial counters were on the rise with shares in South Korea's Kookmin Bank, Singapore's DBS Group Holdings and Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial drawing support from news that U.S. investment bank Merrill Lynch, hit by huge subprime mortgage losses, confirmed a report that it would increase its capital with an investment from Singapore's Temasek Holdings. Merrill is the latest in a growing number of Wall Street firms to receive cash from sovereign wealth funds as the sector shores up balance sheets as the credit crisis plays out.