Benchmarks in Tokyo and Hong Kong declined while Shanghai and Seoul advanced.
But rising infection numbers in the United States and Europe has raised the threat of renewed restrictions on business and movement.
A report on USA homebuilding showed the housing market continues to be a bright spot even as other parts of the economy are showing signs of strain from rising coronavirus cases. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.4%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched up 0.1%.
The S&P 500 was down 0.9% in early trading, on pace for its first drop in three days.
Treasury yields also sank after a report showed USA shoppers spent less at retailers last month than economists expected.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell said Tuesday the surge could raise fear enough to discourage consumers from spending and hurt the economy.
Financials, industrials and energy stocks gave back some gains made over the last week as positive updates from US vaccine trials encouraged investors to diversify into value stocks on hopes they will benefit from a pickup in the economy.
S&P 500 tracker funds will have to buy Tesla shares when it joins in a month's time.
(MENAFN - Baystreet.ca) The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on Wednesday boosted by a pop in Boeing shares, while investors digested more positive news on the coronavirus vaccine front.
Pharmacy stocks were among the biggest decliners after e-commerce Amazon opened an online operation to compete with them.
CVS Health fell 7.6%, Walgreens Boots Alliance dropped 7.9% and Rite-Aid lost 12.9%. Apple slipped 0.2% and Amazon ticked down by 0.6%.
Tesla's shares took a leap forward as the company joined the S&P 500, one of the company's most famous stock indexes. The Palo Alto, California-based company would likely be among the top 10 biggest stocks on the index, with a weighting of more than 1%.
The Russell 2000 small-cap index rose 6.58, or 0.4%, to 1,791.91. The figure also fell short of economists expectations for 0.5% growth.
Pfizer shares were up 1.7%, while BioNTech's were up 3.8%.
Further still, there is some evidence to suggest making it into the prestigious S&P 500 can hurt a stock's performancebecause the increase in passive holders gives rise to less active shareholders which can lead to a series of other pitfalls.
- Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine 95% Effective in Clinical Trial
- In a first, SpaceX rocket carrying 4 astronauts launches into space
- The end of the pandemic
- Acting Pentagon chief tells US troops "time to come home"
- 'The Mandalorian' finds new allies, and some surprising backstory
- NYC releases map of positive COVID cases by ZIP code
- COVID-19 in Ontario: Province reports more than 1,400 new infections
- RCEP to boost regional trade, investment amid pandemic: Philippine trade chief
- Taylor Swift confirms sale of masters
- Police clash with pro-democracy protesters in Thailand