Asian shares inched up on Wednesday but the upside was limited as investors waited warily for corporate earnings season to kick off in full force, preferring in the meantime to book profits from a sharp rally at the start of the year.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.1 percent.
Australian shares rose 0.2 percent, breaking a three-day losing streak as top banks and supermarkets rose ahead of data expected to show retail sales recovered some strength before Christmas.
South Korean shares opened up 0.2 percent. Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd launched the local earnings season on Tuesday by announcing a better-than-expected estimated fourth-quarter operating profit.
"The main index is seen rangebound after steadily declining since last week's rapid gains as caution rules before fourth-quarter earnings," Kim Soon-young, an analyst at IBK Securities, said of Seoul shares.
Global shares fell and bond prices rose on Tuesday, with investors cautious ahead of a US earnings season expected to show sluggish growth in quarterly corporate profits.
US earnings season began on Tuesday with Alcoa Inc
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