Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday as Chinese trade data disappointed and investors awaited cues from key central bank meetings due next week.
Official data showed Chinese exports fell 7.5 percent from a year earlier in May, marking the first drop in three months. Imports fell 4.5 percent..
Gold dipped as the dollar held firm despite the prospect of a pause in the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike cycle next week.
Oil extended overnight losses as fuel demand concerns outweighed optimism over OPEC’s recent production cuts.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index fluctuated before finishing marginally higher at 3,197.76 on speculation the country may unveil fresh economic stimulus to boost growth. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.8 percent to 19,252, buoyed by heavyweight technology stocks.
Japanese shares tumbled, with the Nikkei 225 Index recording its sharpest fall in 12 weeks as investors locked in recent gains.
The Nikkei 225 Index slumped 1.8 percent to 31,913.74 after having climbed to 33-year highs in recent sessions on the back of strong quarterly earnings and dovish signals from the Bank of Japan.
The broader Topix Index ended 1.3 percent lower at 2,206.30, dragged down by chip-related stocks. Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings all fell around 4 percent.
Seoul stocks ended little changed with a positive bias, giving up earlier gains ahead of interest rate decisions from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank next week. Korean Air, LG Chem and SK Innovation jumped 2-3 percent.
Australian stocks edged down slightly after data showed first quarter GDP grew at the weakest pace in 1-1/2 years due to pressure from high inflation and interest rates.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,118 and the broader All Ordinaries index ended 0.1 percent lower at 7,310.40, with energy stocks leading losses.
PolyNovo shares soared 15.8 percent after the disruptive medical device company posted a record monthly sales of $7.2 million in May.
Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index fell 1.0 percent to 11,759.15.
U.S. stocks eked out modest gains overnight as investors awaited cues from inflation data and the FOMC meeting next week.
The Dow finished marginally higher, the S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.4 percent.
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