Asian stocks mixed as Obama delivers speech

Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday as President Barack Obama delivered a State of the Union policy speech, vowing to create jobs and spur growth in the world’s No. 1 economy.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average fell 42.03 points, or 0.4 percent, to 10,422.39 in the morning session. Shares in Indonesia and Malaysia were lower.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8 percent to 2,102.89. China’s Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.8 percent to 2,698.39. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was marginally down at 23,775.80. Shares in Singapore and Taiwan were higher.

Australia’s stock market was closed for a public holiday.

In Washington late Tuesday, Obama said in the State of the Union address he would boost spending for education, innovation and infrastructure as ways the government can support America’s foundation and help businesses create jobs for a generation.

Obama also called for an overhaul of corporate taxes that would eliminate many loopholes and deductions in exchange for lower rates.

On Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped just 3.33 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 11,977.19. The U.S. stocks were under pressure Tuesday on a round of disappointing earnings results including those from manufacturing company 3M.

Across Asia, investors also traded with caution, awaiting a statement by the Federal Reserve, which concludes a two-day meeting Wednesday.

In currencies, the dollar was quoted at 82.06 yen in Tokyo Wednesday, little changed from 82.20 yen in New York late Tuesday. The euro edged up to $1.3690 from $1.3685.

Benchmark crude for March delivery edged up 27 cents to settle at $86.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.