Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday in a choppy session with activity subdued ahead of Friday's Easter holidays.
Regional indices were unable to follow Wall Street's strong lead overnight. Major U.S. averages posted 1 percent gains after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen reiterated her intention to support the recovery. Sentiment also rose after the Fed's Beige Book survey indicated the U.S. economy bounced back from a weather-related hit in recent weeks.
The majority of Asian markets will be closed on Friday, except for Japan, Shanghai and South Korea.
Ukraine talks watched
In the latest developments in Ukraine, diplomats from Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the E.U. are set to meet in Geneva for their first four-way talks. The meeting comes as hostilities in eastern Ukraine persist, with pro-Russian separatists seizing the mayor's office in the eastern city of Donetsk.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei bounced between gains and losses throughout the session as investors booked profits from Wednesday's 3 percent rally. Comments from Bank of Japan chief Haruhiko Kuroda that the central bank will adjust monetary policy as needed were unable to lift sentiment.
Index heavyweight Fast Retailing fell 1.5 percent after rallying 2 percent in the previous session.
Camera maker Canon rose 1.2 percent after the Nikkei reported that operating profit for the first three months of the year jumped an annual 50 percent to $775 million.
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Shanghai drops 0.3%
Mainland shares fell as investors showed little reaction to news that authorities are cutting the reserve requirement ratios (RRR) for certain rural banks. The State Council said the move is aimed at stimulating growth in some parts of the country as those banks will now have more cash to lend.
Financials declined; Pudong Development Bank and Shanghai Pudong fell over 1 percent each.
Real-estate shares declined ahead of home price data due on Friday. China Merchants Property fell 2.5 percent and Poly Real Estate lost 1.5 percent.
ASX gains 0.5%
Australia's benchmark extended gains into a second session and posted a 0.5 percent gain for the week, the index's fifth consecutive week of gains.
Woolworths was one of the best performers, up 2 percent to end at an all-time closing high.
Energy stocks were in focus on the back of first-quarter production reports. The nation's largest independent oil and gas producer Woodside rose 1 percent after reporting a 5 percent rise in production while Santos ended flat after output increased by only 1 percent.
South Korean shares reversed morning gains to crawl below the flatline after data showed that producer prices eased for the 18th straight month in March.
Steelmaker Posco rose 0.3 percent on reports from the Korea Herald that prosecutors raided a subsidiary of the company over corruption allegations involving its officials.
India adds 1.6%
Indian shares rallied as the country kicked off the biggest day of voting in its general election thus far.