Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday, with Japanese indices moving higher after a weak services sector report kept alive expectations of more Bank of Japan stimuli.
The Nikkei/Markit services purchasing managers' index retreated in September at its sharpest pace since April 2014 and plunged deeper into the sub-50 territory that signifies economic contraction. The index fell to 48.2 from 49.6. The Bank of Japan last month launched a major overhaul of its monetary strategy, including a plan to control bond yields. At the time it refrained from pushing rates further into negative territory, though some see another rate cut as likely.
The dollar and the euro were both up marginally against the Japanese currency. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.50% to 16,819.24, while the Topix was up 0.29% at 1,347.81.
Sompo was up 2.7% in Tokyo after on news of a deal worth more than $6 billion bid for Bermuda reinsurer Endurance Specialty. (ENH) Endurance stock closed on Tuesday up more than 35% at $87.87 after the company confirmed advanced talks.
Dow Jones and Nasdaq futures were down 0.03% and the S&P 500 mini was down 0.02%.
In India the BSE Sensex index was recently down 0.09% at 28,310.01. On Tuesday the Reserve Bank of India unexpectedly cut the benchmark repo rate from 6.50% to 6.25%, the lowest level in almost six years.
It was the first interest rate review under new bank governor Urjit Patel, who replaced Raghuram Rajan last month.
In Hong Kong the Hang Seng was up 0.55% at 23,779.97.
In Sydney the S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.57% at 5,452.9.
Gold miners fell, with OceanaGold down 13.5% and Resolution Mining down 7.9%.
Gold was recently up 0.51% at $1,276.20 an ounce after falling on Tuesday.
West Texas intermediate was up 0.97% at $49.16 a barrel.
Global markets look likely to lack direction before Friday's jobs report from the U.S. Analysts expect the economy to have added about 172,000 jobs after 151,000 in August. Any number significantly higher could send markets into a tailspin.
On Wednesday Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in New Zealand he would be "fine" with a 2016 rate rise provided the data supports the move, according to Reuters.
On Tuesday, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker in a speech argued in favor of preemptive action on rates.