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Asian equities subdued on poor US lead

Asian equity markets traded mixed early Wednesday, with cautious sentiment still in the air after an uninspiring lead from Wall Street overnight.

Overnight, US stocks closed lower as investors weighed the possibility that a stronger dollar could have on earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed down 0.6 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.3 percent.

Nikkei slips 0.2 percent

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell into negative territory as the yen strengthened modestly to 119.66.

Eisai, which has rallied nearly 30 percent over the past two sessions, lost 5 percent. The company’s stock has been supported by hopes that its drug can treat Alzheimer’s disease.

ASX adds 0.1 percent

Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged up, with the financials widening gains as the central bank voiced confidence in tighter home loan standards.

National Australia Bank and Westpac added 0.6 and 0.7 percent, respectively, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group inched up 0.3 percent each.

“All four major banks are enjoying good operating conditions… with a modest recovery in credit growth and business credit growth is improving, albeit modestly from low levels. Credit quality continues to improve in Australia and we expect that to last for another 18 months,” David Ellis, head of Australian Banking Research at Morningstar, told CNBC’s “The Rundown.”

Shanghai Comp down

China’s Shanghai Composite opened down 0.5 percent, seemingly set to snap a ten-session winning streak.

Agricultural Bank of China outperformed the sector with a rise of 0.3 percent, despite posting an unexpected decline in profit as net fee income fell and bad-loan provisions swelled.

Kospi flat

South Korea’s Kospi index hovered above the flatline amid mixed trading among index heavyweights. KB Financial Group and Hyundai Motor notched down more than 1 percent each, while Samsung Electronics drifted 0.2 percent higher.

Asiana Airlines said Tuesday its board of directors gave their go-ahead to set up another low-cost airline. Shares of the country’s number 2 carrier inched down 0.1 percent at the open.


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