Asian Stocks Closed Mixed

Asian markets closed mixed and the U.S. dollar slid to multi-month lows against the yen on Wednesday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 90.51 points Wednesday, or 0.4%, to 21,154.17

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong roared ahead 676.07 points, or 2.3%, to 30,515.60

The Nikkei fell as much as 1.4% at one point and touched its lowest levels in four months ahead of the release of U.S. inflation data later in the day. Those moves were accompanied by the dollar falling to 15-month lows against the yen.

Automakers closed the session in negative territory, with Toyota and Honda Motor lower by 2.1% and 1.2% respectively. Technology shares were also mostly lower, with SoftBank Group declining 2.4% by the end of the day.

Toshiba bucked the trend to climb 1.9%. The company announced on Wednesday that it would appoint Nobuaki Kurumatani as chairman and chief executive.

Among other heavyweights, Fanuc Manufacturing fell 1.4% Fast Retailing shed 0.1% by the end of the session.

Meanwhile, fourth-quarter Japan gross domestic product data released on Wednesday showed the economy grew at an annualized 0.5%, below a median forecast of 0.9%.

Also, the yen rose to its highest levels in 15 months earlier in the session. The dollar last traded at 107.23 after slipping as low as 106.82 earlier.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the Japanese government would watch moves in the market and noted that foreign exchange stability was key.

In Hong Kong, China Construction Bank added 4% to contribute 106 points to the Hang Seng’s massive gains around an hour before the market close. HSBC gained 2.3% and insurer AIA rose 1.1%

Tech heavyweight Tencent rose 2.2% as did most other technology sector shares. Sunny Optical advanced 4%.

Korean stocks advanced, with Samsung Electronics extending gains and climbing 3.1% Other technology names were mixed: SK Hynix slipped 0.1% and LG Electronics lost 2% on the day.

Shares of Lotte Corporation closed down 6% after Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin was sentenced to two years and six months of jail as part of a wider political scandal in South Korea. Lotte Shopping stock ended the day lower by 2.3%

In Australia, the heavily weighted financials sub-index dragged on the broader index. The sector edged down by 0.7% as most of Australia's "Big Four" banks closed the session lower: Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 3% and ANZ was lower by 0.3%

In other individual stocks, Australian department store operator Myerjumped 4.67 percent after the retailer announced Wednesday that Chief Executive Richard Umbers was stepping down. The search for Umbers' replacement has commenced immediately, Myer said in a statement.

Mainland China markets will close from Feb. 15 to Feb. 21 while Hong Kong markets will be shut from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19 for the Lunar New Year. Other regional markets, including South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, will also finish the week early due to the holiday.

In other markets

Taiwan markets remained shuttered for holiday

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gained 31.33 points, or 0.8%, to 3,966.96

The Kospi in Korea gained 26.64 points, or 1.1%, to 2,421.83

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index subtracted 12.21 points, or 0.4%, to 3,402.86

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 fell 63.42 points, or 0.8%, to 8,058.80

The ASX 200 slumped 14.66 points, or 0.3%, to 5,841.24