Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday as investors booked profits following the previous day's rally. Earlier in the session, mini-stimulus measures from China and positive U.S. data helped lift regional sentiment.
China's State Council said on Wednesday it is ramping up spending on railways and housing as well as offering small business tax breaks. However, analysts expect more stimulus in the form of looser monetary policy, such as a cut in bank reserve requirements.
Tim Condon, Asia economist at ING, said the State Council announcement's was not a surprise following Premier Li Keqiang's supportive comments last Friday. "We consider the news of the announcement the lessening of the likelihood of a resort to go-stop monetary policy, which is positive for EM risk assets," Condon added.
Investors are also eyeing the possibility of new stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB) when it announces its interest rate decision later in the day.