Asia Markets: Asian stock markets mostly fight their way higher


With a number of Southeast Asian markets closed for a holiday, equities in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region generally continued their winning ways in early trading Wednesday. But S&P 500 futures ESU8, -0.20%   were down 0.2% in the wake of the fresh political storm encircling President Donald Trump with Paul Manafort’s conviction and Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.60%   was up about 0.5% after the yen pulled back overnight. Automakers benefited, with Toyota 7203, +2.19%  and Honda 7267, +1.93%   up about 2%.

Chinese stocks opened slightly lower after two days of 1%-plus gains, reversing some of last week’s sharp declines. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.52%   was off 0.4%, while the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.76%   was down 0.6%. Consumer names were modestly underperforming in initial trading while financials were little changed.

Hong Kong stocks initially joined those on the mainland in starting lower, but the Hang Seng HSI, +0.47%   rallied into positive territory, and was last up 0.5%. Ping An 1833, +4.16%   surged 4%, while HSBC 0005, -0.43%   and China Mobile 0941, -1.08%  fell.

Australia’s benchmark XJO, -0.28%   added to Tuesday’s underperformance, pressured further by fresh 1% declines in financials and materials. Stocks were up again in New Zealand, though, with the NZX 50 NZ50GR, +0.33%   on pace for another record closing high.

South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.34%   gained 0.3%, as Samsung 005930, +2.46%   rose more than 2%. Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, +0.18%   rose slightly. Indexes in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were closed for holidays.

Providing critical information for the U.S. trading day. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Need to Know newsletter. Sign up here.