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Asia shares mixed in cautious trade ahead of US GDP data

Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday on concerns over global bond yields and U.S. growth data.

U.S. stocks ended a four-session rally on Wednesday, with investors skittish as the 10-year Treasury yield fell to a low of 2.44 percent, its lowest closing level since last July. The move in U.S. yields followed falls in their German counterparts on news of an increase in Germany's unemployment.

Read MoreBond yields hit new 2014 lows—more room to fall?

Caution set in ahead of U.S. first-quarter gross domestic product data, due later in the day.

"U.S. GDP is expected to be revised to a negative print, with most analysts feeling this is consistent with a handover into Q2, which is then expected to show a bounce-back. Should the Q1 figure surprise to the upside, then perhaps we might finally see a bounce in the greenback which has remained subdued," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG.

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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Nikkei flat

Japanese shares managed to end at a new seven-week high for the fourth straight session, erasing earlier losses. The session marked the sixth day of gains for the benchmark Nikkei.

Retail sales fell an annual 4.4 percent in April, marking the fastest pace of annual decline since March 2011. Retail stocks were mixed however with Aeon down 0.8 percent and Takashimaya more than 1 percent higher.

Meanwhile, a slightly stronger yen capped larger gains as the currency rose to a one-week high of 101.61 per dollar.

Read MoreThe outlook for Asia's export engine: Going slow

China shares mixed

Mainland shares entered negative territory in the final hour of trade, closing down 0.5 percent after ending at a two-week high on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the yuan continued to weaken after hitting a one-month low of 6.2623 per dollar on Wednesday.

Health-related stocks rallied after Beijing said it will allow more private capital into the healthcare system. Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine jumped 2 percent and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical rose 1 percent.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 0.3 percent after hitting a new seven-week high earlier in the session.

ASX dips 0.1%

Australia's benchmark index retreated from Wednesday's one-month high but larger losses were limited after data showed business investment for the 2014-15 year were revised higher.

Atlas Iron and Mount Gibson lost over 4 percent each after iron ore prices hit a new 20-month low while Evolution Mining closed down 2.5 percent as bullion prices fell to near four-month lows.

Toll Holdings soared 5 percent after announcing major changes in its business and management structures.

Read MoreAustralia grapples with soaring obesity

Emerging markets lower

Philippine shares fell over 1 percent after first-quarter gross domestic product rose an annual 5.7 percent, missing forecasts for a 6.4 percent gain.

India's benchmark index meanwhile eased 1.3 percent following mixed cues from the rest of Asia.

Kospi slips 0.2%

South Korean shares declined after ending at a six-month high in the previous session. Investors digested April's current account report, which showed the economy recorded a record high surplus while imports fell a monthly 3.7 percent.

Index heavyweights LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics jumped 3.5 and 1.9 percent, respectively.

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