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Market Update

Nikkei Leads Asia Lower as Yen Rebounds

Asian markets were mostly lower Wednesday tracking overnight losses on Wall Street and weighed by regional concerns as well.

The Nikkei fell 1.7%. The Shanghai Composite gained 1.3% while the Hang Seng declined 0.4%. The Sensex slipped 0.1% while the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries was also off0.4%.

Japanese shares fell as the yen rebounded versus the dollar. Also, Bank of Japan board member Takehiro Sato said more monetary easing would not help raise inflation expectations, dampening hopes of more stimulus measures.

In Sydney, GDP data came in below expectations, showing Australia’s economy grew 0.6% in the third quarter from the second, and by 2.3% from a year earlier.

In Hong Kong, HSBC’s PMI rose to a 10-month high of 52.1 in November from 50.1 in October, indicating the strongest improvement in private-sector business conditions since January’s 52.5 increase.

Stocks on the Move

Seven & i Holdings was down 0.4%, outperforming the rest of the market after a Nikkei report that the company is planning to buy a sizeable stake in Barneys New York’s Japanese business.

Nissan and Toyota both fell 1.6% each despite auto sales data yesterday in the U.S. that showed sales for both automakers rose 11% and 6% each, respectively.

Honda backed down 1.4%. Sales for American Honda Motor decreased 0.1%.

Renesas Electronics pared about half of its gains from the morning session but was still up a percent on a Nikkei newspaper report that Sony wants to buy its main chip-fabrication facility.

The Shanghai stock market was a big mover with shares up after the People’s Bank of China said the Free Trade Zone reforms will be launched in the next three months. Shanghai International Port Group was buoyed slightly over 10%. Other companies associated with the zone also received a boost.

ICICI Bank fell 1.7% in Mumbai, followed by L&T, down 1.6%. Hindalco was down a percent.

In Sydney, the four major banks - CBA, WBC, NAB, and ANZ – were all up in a range between 0.2% and 0.6%.

BHP Billiton gained 1%.