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Asia stocks sell off ahead of US jobs but India outperforms on exit polls

Indian shares outperformed on Thursday on hopes for an opposition party victory in state elections while the rest of region fell ahead of key U.S. data and central bank meetings.

U.S. consumer sentiment and nonfarm payrolls are due out on Friday and will likely provide investors with clues on when the Federal Reserve may taper its stimulus program.

Meanwhile, caution also seeped in ahead of the European Central Bank and Bank of England's monetary policy decisions, due out later on Thursday. Ahead of the ECB decision, the euro rose to $1.3628 per dollar.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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India rallies 1.1%

India's benchmark index approached a fresh record high after exit polls indicated a strong showing for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in state elections. Investors widely perceive the BJP to be more business friendly. That saw the rupee hit a one-month at 61.75 per dollar.

The benchmark Sensex index last hit an all-time record high of 21,321 points on November 3.

(Watch now: India refuses to budge on food security bill)

Nikkei 1.5% lower

Japanese stocks hit a new two-week closing low for a second session as the yen continued to strengthen. The Japanese currency was at 102 per dollar in Asian trade, well-off Monday's six-month trough beyond the 103 handle.

Automakers were among the most vulnerable to the yen's strength. Nissan Motor led losses by 3.5 percent while Mazda Motor eased 2.7 percent and Suzuki Motor eased 2 percent.

Investors are awaiting an announcement about an economic stimulus package as impatience grows over the next phase of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's turnaround plan. The headline figure is speculated to be around 5 trillion yen.

Sydney drops 1.4%

Australian shares hit a seven-week closing low after the nation's October trade deficit came in wider than expected. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar pared losses after falling below 90 U.S. cents for the first time in three months overnight.

Qantas Airways closed down 11.2 percent after the airline flagged profit warnings for the first half of 2014 due to a "marked deterioration" in market conditions.

But miners lent some respite on the back of higher iron ore prices. Fortescue Metals jumped over 1 percent while Oz Minerals climbed nearly 5 percent.

China Mobile higher

In Hong Kong, shares of China Mobile rose 1 percent on reports that it has signed a long-awaited deal with Apple to offer iPhones on its network.

Top lender Standard Chartered fell 4.5 percent after flagging lower profits for this year.

Meanwhile, mainland shares closed down 0.2 percent in tepid trade after excitement around Shanghai's free-trade zone saw the benchmark Shanghai Composite close at its highest level in three months on Wednesday.

Stocks involved in the free-trade zone fell on profit-taking with Shanghai Material Trading down 3 percent after rallying 10 percent in the previous session.

Kospi slips 0.1%

South Korean shares closed at a new three-week low despite upbeat economic data. Third quarter growth came in at a seasonally-adjusted 1.1 percent from the previous quarter.

By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
USD/JPY
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ASX 200
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NIKKEI
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BLT
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FMG
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QAN
---
AUD/USD
---
RIO
---
7201.T
---
7269.T
---
7261.T
---
3422
---
27
---
=EUR
---
USD/INR
---
7211.T
---
AAPL
---
941
---
STAN
---
SHANGHAI
---

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