Asian stocks take a breather
Automakers are up, following a jump in the dollar against the yen.
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(CNN) -- Asian markets are taking a breather Wednesday as investors review the gains made earlier this week that pushed Japan, South Korea and Australia to 21-month highs.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 average has finished the morning session flat, up just 0.01 percent to 11, 363.11, after dipping into the red at the opening.
On Tuesday, the Nikkei ended up 0.80 percent at 11,361.51, its highest finish since June 11, 2002.
The broader Topix index is 0.26 percent ahead to 1123.34.
A jump in the dollar is supporting big exporters such as automakers and consumer electronics makers. The dollar is buying 110.16 yen in midday trade, its highest since November.
Markets in Australia and South Korea are also flat. Taiwan's Taiex, which closed at a 41-month high Tuesday, is down just 0.05 percent.
Singapore is also slightly in the red, down about 0.1 percent. But New Zealand's Top 50 is up almost 0.3 percent.
In Tokyo, big banks are leading the gains. UFJ is 5 percent ahead to 546,000 yen and Mizuho is up about 3.5 percent to 358,000 yen. MTFG and SMFG are also firmly in the black.
Japan's biggest carmaker Toyota is up 1.8 percent to 3970 yen, reflecting optimism over the strength of the dollar. Nissan and Honda are both about 1.3 percent ahead.
Tech-related stocks are mixed, with Tokyo Electron up 1.7 percent to 7010 yen and a solid 1.5 percent rise for Hitachi, but falls for NEC, Kyocera, Matsushita Electric and Mitsubishi Electric.
Big mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo is steady at 230,000 yen.
In South Korea, the Kospi is up 0.1 percent to 900.05. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is steady at 554,000 won and Hyundai Motor is 0.6 percent higher to 50,400 won.
Big financial group Shinhan is up almost 4 percent to 22,450 won.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 is 0.01 percent ahead to 3390.7. Resources leader BHP Billiton is continuing to make gains, up another half a percent to A$12.73.
But Telstra has eased 0.8 percent to A$4.80, and leading airline Qantas has plunged 3.15 percent to A$3.69.
Brewing group Foster's is down half a percent to A$4.33 after naming Trevor O'Hoy as its next CEO. He will replace Ted Kunkel next month.
In Taiwan, the Taiex is down about 0.05 percent to 6967.61, after briefly going above 7000 earlier in the day. Chip foundry UMC is up 2.4 percent to T$34.10. TSMC is down 1.5 percent to T$66.00
In Singapore, the Straits Times index is down about 0.1 percent to 1890.93. Singapore Airlines is steady, while SingTel is up 0.85 percent to S$2.37.
On Wall Street Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average eased about 0.8 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.88 percent to 2039.65. (Full story)