Investing.com – Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday, as ongoing uncertainty over the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis continued to weigh on Japanese exporters, while rising commodity prices boosted raw material producers in Australia.
During late Asian trade, Australia’s ASX/200 Index jumped 1.4%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.9%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was closed for a public holiday.
Late Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that euro zone finance ministers are looking into ways to coordinate the recapitalization of European lenders after agreeing that additional measures are needed support the region’s banks.
Meanwhile, ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Italy’s sovereign credit rating by three notches to A2 from AA2, citing a "material increase" in long-term funding risks for euro area sovereigns with high levels of public debt.
Shares in Japanese exporters with high exposure to Europe performed poorly, with consumer electronics giant Sony dropping 1.75%, rival Hitachi saw shares fall 2.15%, while automakers Toyota and Nissan retreated 2% and 3.1% respectively.
Nuclear power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company saw shares tumble 11.75% after the Asahi newspaper quoted trade minister Yukio Edano as saying he would review the framework for Japan’s electricity prices.
Elsewhere, commodity-linked shares led gains in Australia, as precious metal and oil prices advanced on the New York Mercantile Exchange, boosting earnings prospects for miners and energy explorers.
Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto saw shares jump 3.75% and 2.2% respectively, while shares in oil producers Woodside Petroleum and Santos surged 4.1% and 4.4% apiece.
Shares in retailers performed strongly after official data showed that retail sales rose 0.6% in August, doubling expectations for a 0.3% gain. Department store chain David Jones saw shares climb 1.4%, while Harvey Norman Holdings saw add 1.85%.
Meanwhile, European stock markets were up sharply after the open. The EURO STOXX 50 jumped 1.45%, France’s CAC 40 rose 1.6%, the FTSE 100 advanced 1.25%, while Germany's DAX gained 1.3%.
Later in the day, the euro zone was to publish revised data on second quarter GDP, as well as official data on retail sales. Elsewhere, the U.S. was to release a report on ADP non-farm payrolls, while the ISM was to produce a report on service sector activity.