BANGKOK — Asian markets struggled for firm direction Wednesday, after a wild session on Wall Street underscored the difficulty in assessing whether Europe was truly on its way to solving its sovereign debt crisis.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.9 percent to 8,384.29, while South Korea's Kospi was down 1.5 percent at 1,680.51. But Australia's S&P ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent to 3,892.60. Benchmarks in Singapore, the Philippines and New Zealand were also higher.
Stock markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed for a holiday.
On Wall Street on Tuesday, indexes opened sharply lower as traders worried that Greece's government could be closer to defaulting on its debt.
Worries that European and perhaps U.S. banks could get hammered by a Greek default have been a major concern among investors.
But losses were pared after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in Washington that the central bank could take more steps to stimulate the economy. But Bernanke also said that the economy was weaker than he expected, and that poor job growth continued to undercut consumer confidence.
Following another slump, the market began rising again following reports that European financial ministers were working to coordinate their efforts to support European banks.
The Dow closed with a gain of 1.4 percent to 10,808.71. The Standard and Poor's 500 rose 2.2 percent to 1,123.95, while the technology-focused Nasdaq composite rose 3 percent to 2,404.82.
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