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Asian Shares Mixed Amid Geopolitical Tensions


Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday as falling oil prices and lingering concerns about U.S. earnings offset encouraging manufacturing data from Japan. The U.S.-China trade war, Italian government finances and U.S.-Saudi tensions also remained in focus.

China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 8.47 points or 0.3 percent to 2,603.30 after closing more than 2 percent lower on Tuesday, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 96.77 points or 0.4 percent to 25,249.78.

Japanese shares eked out modest gains after a survey showed activity in Japan's manufacturing sector expanded at a faster rate in October. The flash Markit/Nikkei manufacturing PMI rose to a seasonally adjusted 53.1 in October from a final 52.5 in September, as new export orders returned to growth.

The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 80.40 points or 0.4 percent to 22,091.18, while the broader Topix Index finished marginally higher at 1,652.07.

Canon and Panasonic rose around 1 percent as the yen held lower in Asian trading. Sony, Honda Motor and Toyota Motor ended modestly higher. NEC Corp gained 1.3 percent after the company announced a 5G partnership deal with Samsung.

On the other hand, lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial declined 1.1 percent and energy major Inpex tumbled 3.3 percent. Subaru Corp. plunged over 7 percent after the automaker lowered its operating income outlook for the first half of the year. Tech stocks also fell, with Advantest and Tokyo Electron losing around 1 percent.

Australian markets fluctuated before finishing lower as falling energy stocks overshadowed gains in the financial and healthcare sectors. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 14.10 points or 0.2 percent to 5,829, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 0.3 percent at 5,926.50.

Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search, Origin Energy and Beach Energy fell 1-4 percent after oil prices plunged about 5 percent to two-month lows on Tuesday amid worries about demand. Energy services firm WorleyParsons plummeted 11.4 percent.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto lost 1-2 percent despite iron ore prices rising for a second straight session.

In the healthcare sector, infant formula maker Bellamy's Australia slumped 6 percent after the company said it expects first-half sales to decline between 10 percent and 15 percent from the year-ago period.

Meanwhile, gold miner Newcrest rallied 2.9 percent, Evolution Mining advanced 2.6 percent and Regis Resources jumped 5.5 percent after gold prices hit their highest level in over three months in the previous session.

Banks ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac rose between 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent after losses in the previous session.

Seoul stocks fell further after reaching a yearly low the previous day. The benchmark Kospi dropped 0.4 percent to end at 2,097.58, with large-cap tech and bio shares pacing the decliners. Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics slid 1.2 percent while SK Hynix tumbled 3.5 percent. Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion lost 8.5 percent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended down 30.94 points or 0.4 percent at 8,642.24. India's Sensex was up 0.1 percent, giving up early gains.

U.S. stocks fell overnight as disappointing quarterly results from some big-name companies added to investor concerns over slowing global growth and mounting geopolitical tensions.

The Dow dropped half a percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 shed 0.6 percent.

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