Asian markets were mixed in choppy trade on Wednesday after upbeat US economic data reinforced fears of an early reduction in the Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus.

The Japanese Nikkei finished 1.32% higher or 183.16 points to 14,050.16.

The Shanghai Composite index was trading 0.07% lower or 1.43 points to 2,104.79.

Australia's S&P/ASX finished 0.01% lower or 0.30 points to 5,157.40

South Korea's Kospi finished 0.57% higher or 10.88 points to 1,923.91 points.

Trading in Hong Kong was cancelled owing to Typhoon Utor.

Data from the US showed that retail sales, excluding cars, gasoline and building materials, rose 0.5% in July- its fastest pace in seven months. The news sparked fears among market participants that the Fed could begin trimming its massive monthly asset buys, as early as September.

In China, the government will reduce service charges for over a dozen federal departments and agencies as it attempts to slash bureaucracy to improve the business environment in the world's second-largest economy. The decision to cut fees for 20 different services at 14 departments, effective 1 October, is part of the government's efforts to reduce red tape countrywide and promote reforms.

In company news, Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) will recall thousands of vehicles in China to deal with possible engine and oil leakage problems, China's quality watchdog said on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Japan's Mizuho Financial Group is in negotiations to acquire Australia and New Zealand Banking Group's minority stake in Bank Pan Indonesia. Talks are believed to be at an early stage and industry sources value the deal at around $570m (£368m, €428).

Wall Street Ends Higher

On Wall Street, indices ended higher on Tuesday following positive retail sales data.

US equities were also supported by Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart's comment that recent US economic data does not provide "a clear picture" for the central bank to zero-in on a timeline for its planned quantitative easing tapering.

The Dow finished 31.33 points higher at 15,451.01. The S&P 500 closed 4.69 points higher at 1,694.16 while the Nasdaq ended 14.49 points higher at 3,684.44.

Company Stock Movements

In Tokyo, Kobe Steel moved up 3.1% while rival JFE Holdings gained 2.7%. Automaker Mazda Motor added 1.4%.

Manufacturing stocks were pulled down by a stronger yen. Fast Retailing and telecoms firm Softbank lost over 1% each.

Advertising agency Dentsu shed 1.5% after it reported a $38m net loss for the April-June quarter.

Hokuetsu Kishu Paper was down 3% after it slashed its operating profit outlook by 50%, while semiconductor company Dainippon Screen dropped over 3%.

Financial services provider Aiful dropped 6% even after it reported a 97% jump in annual net profit.

In Sydney, engineering consultancy WorleyParsons jumped 4% after it reported better-than-expected annual revenue.

National Australia Bank inched up 0.8%, while Westpac Banking added 0.9%.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) dropped 1%, despite reporting an 8% increase in profit for the year ended June 30.

Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto shed 1.1% as the stock traded without dividend rights.

CSL, Australia's biggest drug maker, lost 3% even after it reported a 19% increase in full-year net profit. Oz Minerals lost 4% after it reported a $244m loss for the first-half.

In Shanghai, automaker SAIC Motor shot up 4.2%. SAIC-subsidiary Huayu Automotive Systems will buy partner Visteon's 50% stake in their joint venture in an all-cash deal. Visteon will earn $1.25bn from the stake sale.

Rival Tianjin Auto jumped about 5%, Dongfeng Automobile added 2% and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile added 1.9%.

Zhongjing Gold dropped 1.5% while Jiangxi Copper shed 1%.

In Seoul, automaker Hyundai Motor shot up 2.4%. SK Hynix, the world's second-largest maker of computer chips, gained over 2% while LG Display added 1.5%.