Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading mixed in the early deals on Wednesday as markets await the formal move by the U.K. to start an historic split with the European Union. Besides, the positive lead overnight from Wall Street after data showed that US consumer confidence rose to a sixteen-year high in March also fuelled the uptrend. Higher crude oil prices also lifted investor sentiment. Japan's Nikkei share average is higher despite ex-dividend share price adjustments pressuring the market and offsetting positive sentiment from gains in Wall Street overnight. Investors also digested weaker-than-expected Japanese retail sales data. Among the other Asian markets, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Indonesia are higher. Bucking the trend, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia are lower.
Nikkei 225 gained 2.08 points or 0.01% to 19,204.95, Hang Seng strengthen 50.39 points or 0.21% to 24,396.26, Shanghai Composite added 4.71 points or 0.14% to 3,257.66, Jakarta Composite increased 44.82 points or 0.81% to 5,586.03, and Straits Times was up by 19.66 points or 0.62% to 3,177.48.
On the flip side, Taiwan Weighted dropped 30.07 points or 0.30% to 9,846.38, KOSPI Index dipped 0.22 points or 0.01% to 2,163.09, and FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI was down by 3.79 points or 0.22% to 1,750.63.