Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday amid concerns about global growth and renewed unrest in the Middle East.
Data on Tuesday showed business activity in the euro zone falling to a nine-month low in September , with growth in both manufacturing and the services sector slowing, which weighed on global markets overnight. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) and Nasdaq (^IXIC) fell for a third session to close at five-week lows, while European indices lost over 1 percent each.
Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG, points to the recent decline in copper prices as a harbinger of future trading action. The metal hovered near three-month lows following China's mixed factory data on Tuesday.
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"As the clearest measure of future industrial production, the copper slide is a telling reminder that short-term volatility and downward pressure is likely over the coming months. Investors are starting to believe the People's Bank of China and central government want structural change to take effect," he said in a note.
Sentiment was also cautious after the U.S. began its first airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) fighters and targeted IS assets in eastern Syria alongside Arab allies. President Obama also mentioned strikes against the Khorasan Group in Syria, an off-shoot of Al Qaida.
Shanghai pops 1.5%
China's benchmark Shanghai Composite (Shanghai Stock Exchange: .SSEC) index ended at its highest level since March 2013, extending gains following Tuesday's 1 percent rally. Sentiment rose after the International Monetary Fund said it expects growth to be well-above 7 percent in 2015.
Financials led the gains with CITIC Securities and Haitong Securities leaping over 3 percent each while Agricultural Bank of China (Shanghai Stock Exchange: 1288-SZ) ended 1 percent higher.
Hong Kong shares rebounded 0.4 percent after falling to a two-month low earlier in the session.
Nikkei 0.2% lower
Japan's benchmark Nikkei (Nihon Kenzai Shinbun: .N225) index resumed trade at a one-week low following Tuesday's holiday. A stronger yen (Exchange:JPYUSD=) was to blame as the currency traded below the 109 handle against the greenback, off last week's six-year low.
Starbucks Coffee Japan (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 2712.T-JP) rallied over 4 percent after U.S. parent firm Starbucks said it plans to buy the remaining 60.5 percent share of the firm that it does not already own.
Aeon (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 8267.T-JP), Japan's largest retailer, lost nearly 3 percent on reports that it is planning to buy the rest of supermarket chain Daiei (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 8263.T-JP) that it doesn't already own. Daiei shares surged over 17 percent.
ASX eases 0.7%
Australia's resource-heavy benchmark S&P ASX 200 (^AXJO) index resumed its declines after rallying 1 percent on Tuesday.
Banks were the main laggards with over 1 percent declines in National Australia Bank , Westpac (ASX:WBC-AU) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA-AU) after the central bank warned it it may take measures to tighten lending to cool the booming property market.
Kospi up 0.3%
South Korean shares snapped their two-day losing streak as investors went bargain hunting in battered large cap stocks.
Hyundai Motor (Korea Stock Exchange: 538-KR) gained 0.3 percent after nearly 80 percent of its workers stopped work for hours on Tuesday to protest the automaker's plans to buy a piece of land for three times its assessed value.
Dongbu Steel jumped 2 percent on news that its creditors plan to takeover the troubled steelmaker in order to restructure it.
Nifty down 0.2%
Indian shares bounced between gains and losses in choppy trade after closing at a two-and-a-half month low in the previous session.