Asian stocks traded broadly lower, after crude oil prices hit a record in New York. In the energy markets, June crude-oil futures slipped as much as 11 cents to $121.73 a barrel in electronic trading at midday Tokyo hours. The energy contract climbed $1.87 to finish at a record high of $121.84 a barrel Tuesday in regular trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, advancing for a third straight session.
The Japanese stocks climbed initially in their first day of trading after a four-day holiday, as banking shares helped to support the market.
The Nikkei 225 Average was up 0.4% at 14,102.48. Today`s session is the first since the benchmark advanced 2.1% Friday. The Topix index advanced 1.15% to 1,393.28.
Hong Kong`s Hang Seng Index ended the day 2.5% lower at 25,610.21. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, Hong Kong`s benchmark for mostly Chinese state-owned shares, fell 3.6% to 14,118.31.
The Shanghai`s Composite Index plunged by 4.1% to 3,579.15. Elsewhere, Taiwan`s Weighted Price Index added 0.8% to 8,926.34. Australia`s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to 5,668.40 while South Korea`s Kospi fell 0.3% to 1,854.01. New Zealand`s NZX 50 index declined 1.5% to 3,596.82.
In the afternoon trading India`s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, dropped by 0.5% to 17,293.97 and the broader S&P/CNX Nifty rose 0.5% to 5,117.15. Singapore`s Straits Times Index dropped 1.1% to 3,214.19.
In Asian currency trading, the U.S. dollar bought 105.28 yen, compared with 104.78 yen in New York late Wednesday.
Shares in Europe edge higher as investors eyed a slew of mostly well-received earnings from some of Europe`s best-known companies including Lafarge and British American Tobacco.
In National indices, the U.K. FTSE 100 index rose 0.4% to 6,238.60, the German DAX 30 index climbed 0.5% to 7,052.31 and the French CAC-40 index advanced 0.1% to 5,045.33.
On the economic release side, UK`s manufacturing sector unexpectedly recorded a broad-based fall in output during March, the sharpest in six months.
The Office for National Statistics said manufacturing output fell by 0.5 % from February - the biggest fall since September 2007 and follows a 0.4 % rises in both January and February.
In another data release Euro-zone retail sales posted a record drop on the year in March, but the previous month`s figures were revised significantly to show a rise rather than a fall.
The volume of retail sales fell 0.4% on the month and 1.6% on the year in March, marking the biggest fall on an annualized basis since the series began in January 2000.
The data showed sales of food, drinks and tobacco dropped 0.1% on the month after remaining flat in February, while sales of nonfood products dropped 0.6% in March after falling 0.3% in the previous month.
On the year, sales of food, drinks and tobacco slumped 2.7% after easing 0.4% in February, while sales of nonfood products dropped 0.9% in March after rising 1.8% in the previous month.