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Asian Shares Mixed Despite Strong Wall Street Lead


Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday as investors digested upbeat corporate results from the U.S. and looked forward to further progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

According to U.S. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will head to Beijing next week for talks that start on April 30.

Following those talks, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will lead a delegation to Washington for further discussions that begin on May 8.

Chinese shares ended slightly higher, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closing up 3.02 points or 0.1 percent at 3,201.61 after the country's central bank extended 267.4 billion yuan ($39.8 billion) to some commercial banks to support liquidity in the banking system. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended down 157.41 points or 0.5 percent at 29,805.83.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session lower as investors braced for a flurry of earnings reports due out on Friday and the 10-day Golden Week holiday starting this weekend.

The Nikkei 225 Index fell 59.74 points or 0.3 percent to 22,200.00, while the broader Topix closed 0.7 percent lower at 1,612.05.

Nissan Motor tumbled 4 percent. After the markets closed, the automaker lowered its profit forecast for the fiscal year through March amid slowing sales and the fallout from the criminal investigation of its former chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Utilities fell on profit taking, with Tokyo Electric Power losing 4.1 percent and Osaka Gas declining 2.7 percent.

Australian markets hit an 11-year high after inflation slowed sharply last quarter to the lowest in three years, building the case for a rate cut this year.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 62.70 points or 1 percent to 6,382.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 59.50 points or 0.9 percent at 6,470.60.

The big four banks rose between 1 percent and 1.6 percent ahead of earnings due next week. Export-reliant CSL rallied 2.4 percent and Cochlear added 2.3 percent as the Aussie dollar tumbled to a six-week low.

In the tech space, Computershare, Afterpay Touch Group, WiseTech Global and Altium jumped 2-5 percent.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto declined 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively after a fall in copper prices. Smaller rival Fortescue Metals lost 1.8 percent.

Seoul stocks fell sharply to snap a three-day winning streak as technology stocks succumbed to heavy selling pressure amid earnings concerns.

The benchmark Kospi dropped 19.48 points or 0.9 percent to 2,201.03, while the South Korean won plummeted to the lowest level against the U.S. dollar in almost 19 months.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 1 percent and chipmaker SK Hynix lost 3.1 percent. Flat panel maker LG Display plummeted 6.4 percent after reporting a wider first quarter operating loss.

New Zealand shares hit a fresh record high, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index climbing 66.90 points or 0.7 percent at 10,071.74, led by consumer staple stocks. Heavyweight a2 Milk Company climbed 2.4 percent and Synlait Milk advanced 2.7 percent.

U.S. stocks advanced overnight as investors cheered positive housing data as well as upbeat earnings news from a number of big-name companies, including United Technologies, Twitter and Coca-Cola.

The Dow gained 0.6 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.9 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged up 1.3 percent to end at record closing highs.

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