Mainland China shares lead the way in Asia on Wednesday

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Shares in mainland China led the way in an otherwise cautious day of trading in Asia, as investor sentiment there was boosted by rumours of more stimulus from Beijing.

The Shanghai Composite closed up 2.33% at 3,536.91 points, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 0.44% at 22,479.69.

Elsewhere, Asian stocks were mixed despite a strong lead from Wall Street.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.4% to 19,938.13 points.

The benchmark breached the key 20,000 level for the first time since August on Tuesday.

Reports were swirling that the Chinese government would unveil tax incentives to encourage more home purchases to stimulate the once red-hot property market.

Australia grows faster

Australian shares were lower despite third quarter growth figures coming in above expectations on rising exports.

The economy grew 2.5% in the three months to September from a year ago, compared with 1.9% in the previous quarter and above forecasts of 2.4%.

But investors seemed to ignore the positive economic data with the S&P/ASX 200 index ending down 0.2% to 5,258.3.

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index finished lower by 0.7% to 2,009.29 after data showed that imports rose faster than exports in the export-driven economy.

Exports in October rose a seasonally adjusted 1.6% from September, while imports jumped 6.1%.

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