HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Asian stocks ended lower Wednesday, though China bucked that trend, as exporters such as Samsung Electronics Ltd. and Sony Corp. fell on renewed concerns about the outlook for U.S. growth.
Markets gave up moderate gains as caution grew ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before Congress later in the day.
However, China's Shanghai Composite index rose 1.1% to 3,173.02, marking its sixth record close in as many days. Gainers included Shanghai-listed shares of steel group Baosteel, which rose 3.3%.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.39% gave back gains to end 0.6% lower at 17,254.73. The broad market Topix index closed down 0.7% at 1,711.06.
Inpex Holdings /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 +4.72% and other resource-related shares rose in Japan as crude-oil prices rallied above $64 a barrel in Asian electronic trading.
Among decliners, telecom NTT DoCoMo /zigman2/quotes/202061250/delayed JP:9437 +0.20% and other high-yielding stocks gave up ground for a second day in which they were traded without dividend entitlements ahead of the close of the fiscal year on March 31. Shares of NTT DoCoMo ended 0.9% lower. See more global markets coverage.
"People are looking for reasons to trade and haven't found anything outside of very specific stock plays," said Matthew Braddick, sales trader with BNP Paribas in Hong Kong. "The general big trends are all on the back burner at the moment."
U.S. stocks ended lower Tuesday as concerns about the economy resurfaced amid reports of declining consumer confidence and a further weakening in the housing market.
Hong Kong, region generally downbeat
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.60% fell 0.8% to close at 19,553.87. The China Enterprises Index, Hong Kong's benchmark for China shares, shed 0.9% to end 9,483.13.
"People are still cautious about the market," said Kingston Lin, head of research at Prudential Brokerage in Hong Kong. He said stocks were hit by weaker sentiment following U.S declines, though some support came from institutional funds adjusting holdings ahead of the close of the quarter.
"Window dressing of portfolios means the market will likely trade at the same level Thursday," he said.
Among Hong Kong standouts, shares of Henderson Investment /zigman2/quotes/203793251/delayed HK:97 0.00% jumped 6.5% after listed associate Henderson Land Development /zigman2/quotes/208724890/delayed HK:12 -1.37% said it would pay HK$12.1 billion ($1.55 billion) for some of its assets. Shares of Henderson Land rose 3.2%.
Around the region, Australia's S&P ASX/200 ended 0.7% lower and South Korea's Kospi Index fell 0.9%. Singapore's Straits times Index was down 1%, Taiwan's Weighted Price Index shed 0.7% and New Zealand's NZSX-50 ended 0.4% lower. India's Bombay Sensex was down 1.6% in late trading and Thailand's SET Index shed 1.4%. Indonesia's leading share benchmark, the JSX Composite, fell 1.1%.
In other Hong Kong trading, shares of heavyweight HSBC Holdings Plc /zigman2/quotes/202687335/delayed HK:5 -2.09% lost 1.1%. Li & Fung , which sources goods for U.S. retailers and others, fell 2.4%. Shares of Hong Kong-listed Hang Lung Properties /zigman2/quotes/205863241/composite HLPPY -0.40% /zigman2/quotes/200230831/delayed HK:101 -0.92% declined 3.1%.