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Asia stocks ease in quiet trade; Qantas surges nearly 7%

Asian stock markets declined on Thursday in a quiet session amid a lack of catalysts.

"Asia remains in a state of stasis. There has been next-to-no news on the commodities front from China. Southeast Asia has seen a quiet period as it awaits the outcomes from Japan's data drop [on Friday]" said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in a morning note.

A lackluster handover from Wall Street also weighed on sentiment. U.S. stocks ended little moved on Wednesday, but the S&P 500 managed to close at above 2,000 points for a second session.

Read MoreHow low can they go? Traders eyeing global rates

In geopolitical news, Kiev accused Moscow of launching a fresh military incursion across its eastern border late on Wednesday. The move throws a spanner in the peace process that was eyed after the leaders of the two nations met in Minsk this week and agreed to de-escalate tensions.

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 slips 0.5%

Japanese shares resumed declines following Wednesday's modest rise as a stronger currency weighed on exporters. The benchmark Nikkei index fell to a new one-week low as the yen rose to 103.7 per dollar, pulling back further from a seven-month peak of 104.49 hit earlier this week.

Automakers were among the hardest hit; Nissan and Toyota Motor fell nearly 1 percent each.

Japan Airlines added 0.7 percent after announcing that it may be placing an order for 32 Mitsubishi Regional Jets.

ASX down 0.5%

Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 index retreated from Wednesday's six-year high but the Australian dollar rose to a new three-week high following strong second-quarter capital expenditure data.

National carrier Qantas jumped 7 percent after saying it expects to return to profit in fiscal 2015 following a record financial loss.

Read MoreQantas posts record full-year loss; Shares jump

Television network Nine Entertainment skidded 4 percent despite announcing that its underlying annual net profit in the first-half beat prospectus forecasts.

Read MoreKim Dotcom: a threat to the kiwi dollar?

Shanghai loses 0.6%

Mainland shares reversed earlier gains despite data showing that industrial profits grew 13.5 percent in July from a year ago. Investors also digested reports that regulators are considering opening up foreign investment in stocks and bonds to more countries.

Read MoreDid China just announce a new stimulus package?

Property developers were among the top losers on the benchmark Shanghai Composite with China Vanke and Shanghai Shimao tumbling over 1.5 percent each.

Kospi flat

South Korean shares reversed gains in the afternoon session despite data showing the economy's current account surplus rose in July from the previous month.

Read MoreNext wave of Korea craze about to start

Among blue-chips, Samsung Electronics rallied 1 percent while Hyundai Motor tacked on 1.3 percent.

Nifty 0.3% higher

Indian stocks managed to avoid Asia-wide losses but movement was muted ahead of the long weekend. Markets will be shut Friday for a public holiday.

Contact Asia

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