Asian markets were mostly higher early Wednesday, as investors bet that the mixed economic data from the U.S. would prompt the Federal Reserve to take more steps to spur economic growth. The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei rose 0.3 % to 9,058.99 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.2% to 1920.66. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was marginally lower at 19,804.39. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2 %to 4,351. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and New Zealand also rose, while Indonesia and Malaysia fell. Mainland Chinese shares were mixed. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver a key speech Friday in Wyoming that investors will watch carefully for clues about the central bank's intentions to try to speed up the U.S. economic recovery. A report showed Tuesday that U.S. house prices increased in all major U.S. cities in June, the latest sign that the housing market has been rebounding. But on the downside, consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level since November 2011. The Conference Board said consumer confidence index fell to 60.6, down from 65.4 in July. Economists had expected a reading of 66. The results show that Americans are still worried about the economy despite a slight rise in job growth. Analysts believe that weak consumer sentiment might spur the Fed to take more action. In China, government data showed that profits at China's industrial companies plunged in July for the fourth straight month, adding pressure on Beijing to step up spending to offset private sector weakness. On Tuesday, Wall Street closed mixed. The Dow Jones industrial average retreated 0.2 % to 13,102.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped marginally to 1,409.30 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 0.1% to 3,077.14. Benchmark oil for October delivery fell 47 cents to $95.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 86 cents to finish at $96.33 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday. In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2555 from $1.2564 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose to 78.59 yen from 78.53 yen.