Asian shares up in early trade despite falls in US

Asian stock markets were mostly higher in early trade Wednesday, despite a decline overnight in New York as U.S. investors shifted to commodities.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average was up 1.5 percent at 9836.41, while the South Korean Kospi rose 0.4 percent to 1955.79.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 4,748.60, while shares in Taiwan and New Zealand were also higher.

Meanwhile, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.7 percent to 3111.8, and shares in Singapore were also lower.

The mostly upward move in Asian shares came in contrast to declines on Wall Street, as investors bought commodities such as silver and copper. There are fears in the U.S. that the Federal Reserve's plan to buy bonds could drive up inflation, and hard commodities are seen by some as a safe haven.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.5 percent to 11,346.75, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.8 percent to 1,213.40. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index was down 0.7 percent at 2,562.98.

Another concern was continuing debt problems in Europe, where there are fears that Ireland's government will have to seek financial aid from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund, as Greece did earlier in the year.

In currencies, the dollar was down slightly to 81.68 yen from 81.71 yen. The euro rose to $1.3783 versus $1.3775.