Asian Shares Mixed Ahead Of ECB Meet

Asian stocks ended Wednesday’s session on a mixed note as investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of the European Central Bank’s meeting on Thursday, at which policymakers are widely expected to cut interest rates, ramp up asset purchases or both.

China’s Shanghai Composite index ended down 0.41 percent at 3,008.81 as caution prevailed ahead of the next round of U.S.-China trade talks that are likely to restart next week.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rallied as much as 1.78 percent to finish at 27,159.06 after reports the Hong Kong Government will announce another major concession to protestors.

Japanese shares ended higher for the seventh straight session, with sentiment helped by a weakening yen and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet reshuffle.

The Nikkei average jumped 205.66 points, or 0.96 percent, to 21,597.76 while the broader Topix index closed 1.65 percent higher at 1,583.66.

Automakers Toyota, Nissan Motor and Honda Motor climbed 2-3 percent as the dollar gained ground against the yen on the back of a rise in U.S. long-term interest rates. Canon advanced 1.7 percent, Panasonic jumped 2.3 percent and Nikon added 2.5 percent.

Banks Mizuho Financial, Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial jumped 2-4 percent, thanks to rising bond yields.

Apple supplier Murata Manufacturing gained 2.3 percent and Alps Alpine soared 3.6 percent after the California-based tech company announced a new lineup of iPhones.

Australian markets ended modestly higher, led by gains in the mining sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 23.90 points, or 0.36 percent, to 6,638 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 24.20 points, or 0.36 percent, at 6,752.20.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group rallied around 2 percent as iron ore prices rose on expectations that Beijing would implement more economic stimulus to boost steel demand.

The big four banks

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