Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday as renewed concerns over euro zone crisis and U.S. fiscal cliff fears weighed on the sentiment.
Japanese benchmark Nikkei advanced 0.87 percent or 79.88 points to 9222.52, Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.64 percent or 135.40 points to 21363.68 and India's BSE Sensex gained 0.58 percent while South Korean KOSPI Composite fell 0.32 percent or 6.14 points to 1884.04 and Taiwan Weighted Index declined 0.80 percent.
Stock markets in Asia pared earlier gains after euro zone finance ministers failed to clinch a deal that would unblock the next tranche of financial aid to debt-laden Greece. After nearly 12 hours of talks in Brussels, European officials ended the discussion on Athens’s next tranche of bailout without a deal and said they would meet again on Monday.
"The euro is being sold because markets had believed the ministers would agree on aid for Greece at today's meeting. Instead, a settlement is postponed, highlighting the difficulty of getting consensus on the debt crisis. But I feel this is a typical European political show and an agreement will be reached," Yuji Saito, director of foreign exchange at Credit Agricole in Tokyo, told Reuters.
Sentiment was also weighed down by fears about the U.S. fiscal cliff after the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday warned there was not much monetary policy could do to prevent the U.S. economy from falling back into recession if law makers fail to avert the potential fiscal crisis.
Japanese shares advanced, led by gains from exporter companies on a weaker yen. The yen declined against the dollar after official data showed that Japan’s merchandise trade balance remained in deficit for four straight months. The world’s third largest economy recorded a trade deficit of 549 billion yen ($6.7 billion) in October, much worse than the economists' estimate for a 360 billion yen deficit as exports to China continued to slump following a territorial spat between Tokyo and Beijing.
In Japan, Toyota Motor Corp. gained 2.23 percent and Mazda Motor Corp. surged 5.88 percent while Canon Inc. advanced 0.97 percent.
Resource and property related shares led the gains in Hong Kong. China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. gained 1.45 percent and New World Development Co Ltd. advanced 0.83 percent while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. surged 2.26 percent.
In Seoul, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd. declined 1 percent and KB Financial Group Inc. fell 1.58 percent while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. gained 1.47 percent.