- Asia shares were mixed on Wednesday ahead of the May 1 holiday in much of the region with Japan showing some strength in leading index shares.

The Nikkei 225 rose 0.23% in the morning session with Softbank Corp. (9984.TOK) up 1.1% on strong earnings gains made by Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) in the U.S. SoftBank recently paid $22 billion to take over the U.S. wireless company.

The Bank of Japan board decided by a unanimous vote on Wednesday to leave its policy target unchanged, as widely expected

A Wednesday statement due from the U.S. Federal Reserve kept trading ranges in check.

The Shanghai Composite also edged 0.03% higher while the Hang Seng index eased 1.15%.

Australia''s S&P/ASX 200 fell by falling 0.2% following a series of bank ratings downgrades. National Australia Bank Ltd (NAB.ASX) fell 0.8% and Bank Of Queensland Ltd. (BOQ.ASX), nearly 1%.

Overnight, upbeat earnings sent U.S. stock indices rising in a session that saw investors shrug off lackluster consumer confidence data with the Dow 30 up 0.53%, the S&P 500 index gaining 0.48%, while the NASDAQ Composite Composite index rose 0.72%.

Investors largely blew off events in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists stormed regional government offices in the eastern city of Luhansk on Tuesday.

Less-than-stellar data out of the U.S. softened prices as well.

The Conference Board, a market research group, said its consumer confidence index declined to 82.3 in April from a 83.9 in March, whose figure was revised up from a previously reported 82.3.

Analysts had expected the index to inch down to 83.0 in April.

The Present Situation Index decreased to 78.3 from 82.5, while the Expectations Index was virtually unchanged at 84.9 versus 84.8 in March.

“Consumer confidence declined slightly in April, as consumers assessed current business and labor market conditions less favorably than in March,” Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

“However, their expectations regarding the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market held steady. Thus, while sentiment regarding current conditions may have slipped a bit, consumers do not foresee the economy, or the labor market, losing the momentum that has been building up over the past several months.”

After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 1.29%, France''s CAC 40 rose 0.83%, while Germany''s DAX rose 1.46%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 1.04%.

On Wednesday, the U.S. is to release preliminary data on first quarter GDP, as well as the ADP report on private-sector job creation, which leads the government’s nonfarm payrolls report by two days. The U.S. is also to release data on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region.

Later Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is to announce its federal funds rate and publish its rate statement.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger