SYDNEY- Asian shares were trading sluggishly on Wednesday following a flat finish on Wall Street, while concerns over opaque policy moves in China kept investors on edge amid a drought of major economic data.
Chinese share markets eased further after sharp falls on Tuesday, but the losses were relatively limited with Shanghai off 0.3 percent.
Moves were likewise modest across the region, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.04 percent.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 pared early losses to be off just 0.1 percent, following a 1.4 percent gain on Tuesday.
“For the rest of the week, the Nikkei may see directionless trade and a lack of volume because investors need more catalysts to take positions,” said Masashi Oda, chief investment officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.
“The benchmark may stay between 14,500 and 15,000.”
Economic data from the United States were too mixed to offer any lead. A closely watched housing survey showed home prices rose slightly more than expected in December, though February consumer confidence fell short of expectations.
The Dow ended Tuesday 0.17 percent lower, while the S&P 500 lost 0.13 percent, a day after touching a record high.
Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes were steady at 2.71 percent after dipping about 4 basis points overnight, leaving them roughly in the middle of the recent 2.57 to 2.79 percent trading range.
Gold edged back to $1,338.46 an ounce and away from a four-month top at $1,343.40.
In currencies, dealers were reporting scant activity ahead of the month end and a slate of major global data next week. The dollar inched up on the yen to 102.30, but could make no headway on the euro at $1.3742.
The single currency has been corralled in a $1.3685-$1.3773 range for the past six sessions.