BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets mostly gained Wednesday on the heels of a record high on Wall Street as traders waited for the latest Federal Reserve meeting minutes for insight into the U.S. economy's prospects.
Japan's stock market continued to rise on a wave of enthusiasm for the Bank of Japan's aggressive new approach to shaking the world's third-largest economy out of its two decade slump. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo rose 0.8 percent to 13,292.86.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 21,910.15. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.8 percent to 1,935.74. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent to 4,971.90.
Investors are looking to the release later in the day of a transcript of last month's Federal Reserve policy meeting for insights into the Fed's latest views on the health of the U.S. economy.
"Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said this week that while the U.S. economy was significantly stronger than it was four years ago, it has yet to recover back to an acceptable state of health," said analysts at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore.
Mainland Chinese stocks fell after China released trade data for March. Some experts said the official figures didn't match up with information available in Hong Kong about goods going in and out of China. The export figure, in particular, raised skepticism.
The General Administration of Customs said export growth slowed to 10 percent from the previous two-month period's 23.6 percent. However, Francis Lun, chief economist of GE Oriental Financial Group in Hong Kong, said the actual figure was probably closer to 2 to 3 percent but was inflated by exporters seeking government rebates.
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