Asia shares sluggish, China policy puzzles

Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:57pm EST
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By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) - 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 .SSEC.

Moves were likewise modest across the region, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS up 0.04 percent.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 .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. <TOP/CEN>

The Dow .DJI ended Tuesday 0.17 percent lower, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.13 percent, a day after touching a record high.   Continued...

An office worker walks past the board of the Australian Securities Exchange building displaying its logo in central Sydney April 5, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz