Markets Mixed Amid Investors Caution

Asia markets lacked direction on Wednesday afternoon amid shaky investor confidence after steep losses on Wall Street overnight.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 75.58 points, or 0.4%, to 21,507.54.

The Japanese yen, widely seen as a safe haven currency, was at 112.86 against the U.S. dollar after touching a high of 112.61 earlier.

Oil-related stocks in Asia were mostly lower.

In Japan, Inpex fell 3.3% while JXTG shed 1.2%. Japan Petroleum Exploration declined by nearly 1%

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index regained 131.13 points, or 0.5%, to 25,971.47

The losses also spread to South Korea's oil companies, with S-Oil falling 2.2% and SK Innovation seeing losses of 0.5%

Australian markets flopped, with the sectors mixed. The heavily weighted financial sub-index recovered from earlier losses to see gains of 0.2%.

Supermarket chain Coles, which was spun off from conglomerate Wesfarmers, saw a market debut in Australia which was above expectations, beginning trade at A$12.49 (approx $9.02 U.S.) per share. The stock ended the trading day Down Under at A$12.75 per share (approx $9.23 U.S).

Wesfarmers shares closed largely flat.

Coles' public debut in Australia underlined confidence in the nation's number-two supermarket chain even as it faces fierce competition in the supermarket sector from both offline and online rivals.

Among petroleum concerns, Australia's Santos shed 4.4% while Beach Energy plunged 10.7%

The Australian dollar traded at $0.7236 U.S. after seeing highs above $0.729 in the previous session.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 poked higher 8.08 points, or 0.3%, to 3,226.49

China's oil sector was not spared from the selloff either, as PetroChina shares fell 1.5% and China Petroleum & Chemical declined by 1.8%

The moves in China came after the U.S. said on Tuesday that Beijing has failed to change its "unfair, unreasonable" practices at the core of the trade spat between the two economic powerhouses.

The findings were issued in an update of the U.S. Trade Representative's investigation into China's intellectual property and technology transfer policies, which sparked Washington's recent tariffs on Chinese exports.

The report comes ahead of an expected meeting in the coming weeks between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Most analysts say a deal is unlikely to transpire during the meeting.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex index eased back 2.47 points to 9,741.52

In Korea, the Kospi index dropped 6.03 points, or 0.3%, at 2,076.55

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index regained 11.66 points, or 0.4%, to 3,038.65

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 sank 47.9 points, or 0.6%, to 8,672.40

In Australia, the ASX 200 slipped 29.01 points, or 0.5%, to 5,642.77