Japan's Nikkei share average settled 0.6% down at 19, 234. 62 points as market's sentiment was dimmed by a stronger yen. Investors also took caution of the weakened financials which were weighed down by the decline in U.S. bond yields after relatively dovish comments from a top U.S. Fed Reserve official.

The benchmark index ended negative for the week, declining by 0.7%. The Topix shed 0.4% to 1,544.54 while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 lost 0.5% to 13,855.47.

New York Fed Chief William Dudley's recent comments was perceived as more dovish compared to Fed Chair Janet Yellen's remarks before the Congress, who struck a hawkish tone.

Financial stocks lost ground after a recent rally due to the surge in U.S. yields earlier this week. The sector underperformed after the yields on the 10-year notes sank to 2.44% down from the 2.50% seen on Wednesday.

Toshiba Corp. posted a steep drop of 9.2% after rating agency S&P issued a warning that it could slash the group's rating if financial backing from lenders includes any form of loan restructuring. There were also concerns that the stock may be downgraded to the second section of Tokyo Stock Exchange if continues to underperform until the end of the business year.

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Wall street closed slightly higher on Wednesday as concerns grew over President Donald Trump's agenda and minutes from the recent Federal Reserve meeting, which implied that policymakers are concerned about soft inflation.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.12 percent to 22,024.87, as Home Depot and United Technologies contributed the most gains. The S&P 500 climbed 0.14 percent to 2,568.11, as materials outperformed. The Nasdaq composite added 0.2 percent to 6,345.11, with Apple shares touching a record peak.

Stocks remained volatile after the release of the Federal Reserve meeting's minutes. Indexes lost some ground after Trump's disbanding of two high-profile business advisory councils as two more CEOs resigned from the manufacturing council.

Investors expect the Fed to begin unwinding its massive bonds portfolio in September. However, the market is divided as to whether the U.S. central bank will hike rates once more in 2017.

The S&P materials index climbed the most of any sector, adding 0.9 percent, following increases in copper and other metals.

After the bell, Cisco Systems shares dropped 2.3 percent after it posted results.

Miners and oil stocks lifted Europe's major share index on Wednesday, as higher metals prices provided support while investors await eurozone GDP figures which is expected to confirm that the bloc's economic expansion was on course.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was 0.5 percent higher, its third consecutive day of gains, following a sharp sell-off the previous week. Eurozone stocks and blue chips rose 0.6 percent.

Basic resources stocks were the best performers, higher by 1.1 percent after London zinc touched a record peak, boosted by Chinese construction spending.

British builder Balfour Beatty was among leading gainers, climbing 4.6 percent after robust first-half profits was bolstered by a rebound in British construction.

Admiral was the worst-performing. The British car insurer fell 6.5 percent after it posted profits that were higher by only one percent in the first half, pulled down by injury claims costs as a result of a government change to personal injury rates.

The dollar was steady on Wednesday, holding onto most of the gains it made following U.S. retail sales data which bolstered the likelihood of another Federal Reserve interest rate increase in 2017.

Minutes from the Fed's July meeting will be released today, and markets will pay attention to clues on the pace of rate hikes and whether the U.S. central bank will likely announce a cut in its balance sheet at its September meeting.

The dollar index was little changed on the day at 93.835, well above its 15-month low of 92.548 notched earlier this month.

Easing fears of tensions between the United States and North Korea also caused investors to buy back riskier assets they sold the previous week, as rhetoric between the two nations heightened.

The greenback was marginally lower against the Japanese currency at 110.65 yen, but still above the four-month low of 108.72 notched on Friday after unsatisfactory cool consumer inflation data.

The euro was stable at $1.1740, after slipping as low as $1.1687 overnight, its weakest since late in July.


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Aug 17 at 3:53 UTC

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