Asian markets were mixed but largely muted on Wednesday as investors fear political gridlock in Washington and what that might mean for America's attitude towards trade.
Stephen Innes, head of APAC trading at OANDA, said: “The problem for Asia is that President Trump is unlikely to give China a free pass, despite the fact he said he would tone down post-election, I don't believe one word of that claim.”

Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.28% to 22,085.80 after starting on a positive note and yo-yoing throughout the night, while the yen climbed 0.34% against the greenback to JPY113.05.

The top fallers were food, printing and medical supplies company Takara Holdings and cement manufacturer Mitsubishi Materials, which dropped by 13% and 8% respectively.

Electrical engineering and software company Yokogawa Electric led the way among risers with a 7.6% rise while videogame industry giants Nintendo and Konami jumped 2% and 3%, respectively.

Chinese markets were muted as the Shanghai Composite fell by 0.68% to 2,641.34 and the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite dropped by 0.43% to 1,340.37, with investors clearly not reassured by government pledges of support to wavering markets amid ongoing trade uncertainty.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Given that the Chinese economy is slowing down, the last thing they need is a protracted trade spat. Recently, Mr Trump's attention has been on the midterm elections, and now that they are out of the way, we might hear more regarding China.”

Jiangsu Hongtu High Technology and Eastern Gold Jade Co led the fallers with 10% drops, while Jiangsu Zongyi followed close behind with a 7% fall.

Meanwhile the Hong Kong Hang Seng index managed to edge up by 0.10% to 26,147.69 despite major car manufacturer Geely Automotive dropping by 5% after reporting it was unlikely to meet its full-year sales targets.

South Korea's Kospi dropped by 0.52% to 2,078.69 after a meeting between North Korean officials and top US diplomat Mike Pompeo was reportedly postponed until an unspecified date.

Brent Crude was up by 1.38% at $73.14 and WTI climbed by 1.00% to $62.84.

Recovering from its Tuesday losses, the Australian S&P/ASX 200 was up by 0.37% at 5896.87 after the 'big four' banks all made gains.

The country's financial giants, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, each made healthy gains of around 1%.

New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 increased by 0.44% to 8,854.79 as Z Energy added 4.9% following its efforts to clarify expectations for its second-half dividend after the firm's shares plunged to a three-year low last week.

The 12.5 cent interim dividend, while up 20% on the year before, was about 5 cents less than investors had been expecting and came after the company had cut its full-year operating earnings guidance to $400m to $435m.

Contact Energy was the other big riser, gaining 3% after said the company said its operating earnings during the past four months are ahead of last year.

The Australian dollar was up by 0.60% against the US dollar at AU$1.37, while New Zealand's dollar similarly rose 0.62% to NZ$1.47.

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