Japanese shares reversed gains to close in negative territory on Thursday amid caution over domestic earnings while the rest of Asian equities ended higher as investors went bargain hunting after recent selling.
Caution prevailed ahead of Friday's U.S. jobs report; traders are hoping for a rebound after December's disappointing reading. Another weak report could dent investor sentiment, which has been hurt by the turmoil in emerging markets, slowing Chinese growth and a reduction in U.S. stimulus.
(Read more: Why Fed volatility is emerging markets' 'poison')
Central banks are also in the spotlight with policy decision from the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of England (BOE) due later in the day. While analysts don't expect any action from either bank, focus will be on forward guidance and hints about future easing.