A loss by the Tokyo benchmark would be its first this month
Japanese shares struggled to hold on to gains early Wednesday following their record-smashing winning streak, as markets in the region broadly edged higher after their recent strength.
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Equity markets in Asia have been hovering around multiyear or record highs, thanks to progress on tax reforms in the U.S., improved prospects for its economy, as well as upbeat earnings estimates.
The Nikkei Stock Averagewas up as much as 0.5% early in the session, lifted by gains in shares of Japanese insurers and a weaker yen, but the index soon pared gains and was recently trading roughly flat.
The Nikkei had been up for 16 straight sessions through Tuesday, having not logged a day down so far this month.
Elsewhere in the region, South Korea's Kospiwas up 0.1% and Singapore's Straits Times Indexwas 0.2% higher. The Shanghai Composite Indexrose 0.1%, as the market there awaited the unveiling of a new top leadership under President Xi Jinping, expected by late morning.
"Market watchers will pay attention to whether there is any potential next-generation leader in the list," OCBC analysts said in a note to clients.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Indexrebounded 0.6% to outperform the rest of Asia, after lagging behind on Tuesday to log its lowest close of October.
In currencies, the Australian dollar was down 0.6% against its U.S. counterpart early Wednesday, after data showed that Australian consumer prices were below the central bank's target.
In the U.S., with earnings season reaching a fever pitch, the Dow industrialssurged Tuesday, powered by big gains in Caterpillar and 3M. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sp-500-dow-on-pace-for-small-gains-but-whirlpool-whacked-after-earnings-2017-10-24)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 24, 2017 23:53 ET (03:53 GMT)