Stocks Mixed, Investors Watch U.S. Treasury Yields

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Wednesday following an overnight inversion of a closely watched U.S. Treasury yield curve to its worst level in more than a decade.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 23.34 points, or 0.1%, to close Wednesday at 20,479.42.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.77 against the U.S. dollar after touching highs around 105.6 yesterday

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 48.59 points, or 0.2%, to 25,615.48,

With both countries remaining locked in a diplomatic spat, Japan officially removed South Korea from a list of preferred trading partners on Wednesday.

Australian stocks surged above water, while the Australian dollar was at $0.6738 after slipping from levels above $0.676 in the previous session.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 deleted 14.37 points, or 0.4%, to 3,802.58

Investors watched for movements in U.S. Treasurys on Wednesday, after the spread between the 10-year Treasury yield and the two-year rate fell to negative five basis points on Tuesday — its lowest level since 2007. The phenomenon, known as a yield curve inversion, has historically preceded a recession.

The inversion continued into the afternoon of Asian trading hours on Wednesday, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note last at 1.4844% versus a rate of 1.522% for the two-year Treasury note.

On Tuesday, China announced measures aimed at raising consumption, including a potential removal of restrictions on car purchases.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index added 16.49 points, or 0.9%, to 1,941.09

In Taiwan, the Taiex advanced 47.06 points, or 0.5%, to 10,434.29

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index settled 11.05 points, or 0.4%, to 3,056.47

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 popped 113.01 points, or 1.1%, to 10,626.17

In Australia, the ASX 200 acquired 29.42 points, or 0.5%, to 6,500.64