Asian shares mixed, Shanghai Composite down after HSBC flash PMI

Asian shares traded mixed on Wednesday with the Shanghai Composite off after a bank survey showed continued contraction in China's manufacturing sector.

The Shanghai Composite fell 0.45% in morning trade, but the Nikkei 225 edged up 0.57% on remarks from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

In company news, Japanese hotel and railway operator Seibu Holdings Inc. rose more than 5% in its trading debut.

The HSBC flash China PMI rose to 48.3 in a preliminary assessment for April from the March final of 48,, leaving room for government steps on the economy, said HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin.

'Domestic demand showed mild improvement and deflationary pressures eased, but downside risks to growth are still evident as both new export orders and employment contracted. The State Council released new measures to support growth and employment after the release of Q1 GDP. Whilst initial impact will likely be limited, they signalled readiness to do more if necessary. We think more measures may be unveiled in the coming months and the PBOC will keep sufficient liquidity.'

Kuroda on Wednesday said in parliamentary testimony that the economy is still on track toward stable 2% inflation and that once reached, support to fiscal policy will also wane.

'We won't consider supporting fiscal policy by keeping borrowing costs low after we have anchored inflation at 2%.'

Overnight, the Dow 30 rose 0.40%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.41%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.97% on solid quarterly earnings.

Solid U.S. data boosted share prices as well.

Industry data revealed that existing home sales in the U.S. fell by 0.2% in March to 4.59 million units, and while soft, the numbers did beat expectations for 4.55 million units.

A separate report showed that the Richmond Fed manufacturing index jumped to 7 this month, from a reading of -7 in March, beating expectations for a reading of 0.

After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 1.40%, France's CAC 40 rose 1.18%, while Germany's DAX rose 2.02%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 0.85%.

On Wednesday, the U.S. is to publish reports on new home sales and manufacturing activity.