By Margarita Snegireva. Asian markets become lower, with benchmark indexes in Hong Kong, Japan, China, Australia, and Singapore falling into negative territory from early highs.
Japanese shares were unsettled after official data showed that industrial output expanded 1.4%, a slower pace than expected, in December from the previous month and is projected to decline in the next two months. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 1% to finish at 13345.03 points after rising as high as 13514.13 earlier in the day. The broader Topix index rose 0.2% to 1331.16.
Electronics stocks slid on dismal earnings and profit-taking brought down the broader market. Chip maker Toshiba lost 2.5% after it reported a 25% drop in quarterly operating profit, while Kyocera fell 2% after it cut its profit forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31 and announced plans to withdraw from the booming Chinese mobile-handset market because of mounting losses, according to reports.
Hong Kong shares finished Wednesday morning lower on caution ahead of the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates later today and the release of a string of US economic data this week.
The market tracked Wall Street's overnight gains in early trade, but caution set in as investors shifted their focus to the expected release of key data in the US , which should give further clues about the state of the world's biggest economy.
Among key economic indicators due out this week are GDP figures for the fourth quarter and employment data for January.