Asian Stocks
Asian Stocks Reuters

Asian stock market mostly declined Wednesday as investors opted for caution ahead of key economic events including the central bank meetings and the monthly U.S. payroll data scheduled to be released later this week

Chinese Shanghai Composite declined 0.13 percent or 2.88 points to 2,224.86, South Korean KOSPI slipped 0.15 percent or 2.93 points to 1,983.22 and India’s BSE Sensex declined 0.15 percent but Japan’s benchmark Nikkei climbed 2.99 percent or 358.77 points to 12,362.20 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined over 0.10 percent.

Markets were mostly declined despite the positive cues from the Wall Street overnight as investors await the outcome of central bank meetings in both Europe and Japan, while the U.S. Automatic Data Processing’s (ADP) National Employment Report is scheduled to be released later in the day, which will provide further cues to the performance of the official payroll data due at the end of week. The U.S. stock markets advanced Tuesday with the S&P 500 closing at another record high as strong reports on the U.S. auto sales and factory orders buoyed investor sentiment.

“Traders for the most part today showed a reluctance to open or extend long positions with so much 'event risk' waiting in the wings for the remainder of the week (U.S. jobs data as well as policy decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England),” Tim Waterer, senior trader at CMC Markets in Sydney, told Reuters.

Japanese shares rallied, led by gains from export companies’ shares amid weaker yen and better-than expected U.S. factory orders data. The yen declined against U.S. dollar as the Bank of Japan (BOJ) began its first policy meet under the new governor Haruhiko Kuroda. The BOJ is widely expected to enact fresh monetary easing measures to reflate the world’s third largest economy.

“We expect the yen to remain a sell against the U.S. dollar. The BOJ will have to become more aggressive given their intention to bring inflation towards 2 percent within only two years. From that angle we do not expect any negative surprises from this week’s BOJ policy announcement,” a note from Credit Agricole said.

Meanwhile, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed that China's services activity increased in March compared to the previous month. The non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 55.6 in March from 54.5 in February.

Export and automobile companies shares led the gains in Tokyo. NEC Corp. climbed 6.06 percent and Toshiba Corp. surged 3.56 percent while Honda Motor Co Ltd and Toyota Motor Corp. gained 4.60 percent and 3.79 percent respectively after strong results posted by the U.S. automakers.

In Hong Kong, Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd declined 2.34 percent and Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd. fell 1.90 percent, while Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. gained 0.35 percent.