Asian stock benchmarks posted modest gains on Wednesday, with downward revisions to Japanese industrial output figures bolstering the case for near-term monetary stimuli and mitigating against the equities-dampening impact of a higher yen.
The Nikkei 225 was up 0.84% at 16,231.43 and the Topix rose 1.13% to 1,300.26.
The dollar was recently down 0.32% against the yen at ¥104.3600. Japanese industrial output declined a greater-than-expected 2.6% in May from April, more than the 2.3% estimated in an initial government report. Output was down 0.4% on the year, compared with the 0.1% decline first estimated.
After Japan only narrowly escaped a return to recession in the first quarter and as price growth remains anemic, the data bolsters the case for the Bank of Japan to push the button on new monetary stimuli, possibly as early as its meeting on July 28 to July 29.
From China, figures showed that imports , denominated in renminbi, fell 2.3% in June, with exports up 1.3%. In May exports by that same measure had risen 1.2% and imports were up 5.1%, according to customs data cited by Reuters.
In Tokyo Sharp (SHCAY) led the Nikkei 225 decliners, falling 5.5% on news it will be removed from the benchmark index to make way for Yamaha Motor (YAMHF) , which rose 9.8%. The change will take place on Aug. 1.
Mitsubishi UJF Financial Group led banks higher, closing up 5.3%.
In Hong Kong the Hang Seng rose 0.43% to 21,316.83. On mainland China the CSI 300 composite was recently up 0.14% at 3,277.61.
Brent crude was recently down 1.16% at $47.91 per barrel. Gold was up 0.66% at $1,341.85 an ounce and silver was up 1.48% at $20.47.
S&P 500 mini futures were recently down 0.09%.