Australia Leads Gainers as Asia Rises

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as investors reacted to recent comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

In Japan, markets returned to trading after a prolonged weekend, with the Nikkei 225 declining 13.81 points, or 0.1%, to 23,346.49.

The Japanese yen traded at 105 per U.S. dollar following a weakening from levels around 104.4 against the greenback yesterday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng recovered from days of stiff losses, gaining 25.66 points, or 0.1%, to 23,742.51.

In a prepared testimony, the Fed’s Powell said the central bank remains committed to supporting the economy through its tools "for as long as it takes." He also noted that "many economic indicators show marked improvement," though the path forward "continues to be highly uncertain."

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7118, having weakened from levels above $0.725 this week.

In other markets

The CSI 300 picked up 16.57 points, or 0.4%, to 4,652.33.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index restocked 17.85 points, or 0.7%, to 2.481.14.

In Korea, the Kospi nicked ahead 0.65 points to 2,333.24.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index dropped 61.63 points, or 0.5%, to 12,583.88.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 added 95.4 points, or 0.8%, to 11,704.62.

In Australia, the ASX 200 regained 139.86 points, or 2.4%, to 5,923.93.