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Asian Shares Mixed As Growth Worries Weigh

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Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday as growth worries persisted and investors awaited more clarity on the future path of treasury yields. Underlying sentiment remained supported somewhat amid receding worries over Italy's budget.

The dollar dipped after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the Federal Reserve once again, saying he believes the central bank is moving too quickly with interest rate hikes.

Trump also repeated a threat to impose tariffs on $267 billion worth of additional Chinese imports if Beijing retaliates for the recent levies and other measures.

Chinese shares ended a tad higher on expectations that policymakers will take further steps to ease a funding crunch and lift growth amid a protracted trade war with the U.S.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 4.82 points or 0.2 percent to finish at 2,725.84, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished marginally higher at 26,193.07.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session slightly higher despite the dollar moving lower against the yen and SoftBank shares tumbling after reports that it is in talks to buy a majority stake in U.S. shared office space provider WeWork Cos.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 36.65 points or 0.2 percent to 23,506.04, while the broader Topix Index closed 0.2 percent higher at 1,763.86, led by defensive stocks.

Oil firm Inpex Corp. rallied 2.7 percent and Japan Petroleum jumped 3.4 percent after crude oil prices rebounded overnight. Heavyweight SoftBank Group plunged 5.4 percent

In economic news, the Cabinet Office said that the total value of core machine orders in Japan jumped a seasonally adjusted 6.8 percent sequentially n August. That beat expectations for a decline of 3.9 percent following the 11.0 percent spike in July.

Australian stocks edged up slightly as bargain hunters lapped up banks and healthcare stocks after a recent string of heavy losses. The benchmark S&P-ASX 200 Index inched up 8.70 points or 0.1 percent to 6,049.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index crept up 8.30 points or 0.1 percent to 6,163.80.

Banks eked out modest gains despite Morgan Stanley analysts warning that there could be more pain in store. Healthcare stocks also rebounded, with CSL and Cochlear climbing 2-3 percent.

Miners BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto rose between 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, helped by stronger iron ore and copper prices. Energy stocks turned in a mixed performance as oil prices dipped in Asian trading on growth concerns.

Education firm Navitas soared almost 22 percent after it received a A$1.97 billion takeover bid from a consortium comprising private equity firm BGH Capital, fund manager AustraliaSuper and top shareholder Rodney Jones.

Australia's consumer confidence rebounded in October, survey data from Westpac showed today. The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment rose 1 percent to 101.5 in October.

Meanwhile, South Korean stocks tumbled to a 17-month low on growth worries, a day after the International Monetary Fund cut its growth outlook for the country this year to 2.8 percent from 3 percent.

The benchmark Kospi fell 25.22 points or 1.1 percent to 2,228.61, extending losses for the seventh straight session and hitting its lowest level since May of 2017.

Builders paced the declines, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction plunging 10.5 percent. Tech stocks also came under selling pressure, with LG Electronics closing down 3.8 percent.

New Zealand shares fell modestly to extend losses for an eighth straight session on concerns about the global economic outlook. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 19.16 points or 0.2 percent to 9,050.82, with growth-oriented stocks such as Synlait Milk and Pushpay Holdings falling over 2 percent.

U.S. stocks ended mixed for the second straight day on Tuesday as yields on Treasuries retreated from a seven-year high and the IMF cut its global growth forecasts, citing the negative effect of recent tariff actions.

The Dow dipped 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 slid 0.1 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished marginally higher.

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