Trading in Asia was cautious on Thursday with central bank decisions in Japan and Europe in focus.
As expected, the Bank of Japan left its its monetary policy on hold at the conclusion of a two-day review and kept its economic assessment unchanged. Focus now turns to the European Central Bank's policy meeting, with some anticipating it could unveil new stimulus measures following dismal inflation and factory activity data.
"Whatever the outcome of tonight's meeting, the [market's] malaise is likely to be broken. The likelihood for surprise and disappointment is high which will see trading activity return, regardless of the outcomes," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG, in a morning note.
In geopolitical news, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko on the phone and while there was no peace deal, Putin issued a 7 point plan to end the bloodshed in southeast Ukraine. Negotiators from Kiev, Moscow and pro-separatist rebels are due for more talks on Friday.
Nikkei dips 0.3%
Japan's benchmark Nikkei index took a breather after ending at seven-month highs in the past two sessions, snapping a three-day winning streak.
Nissan Motor jumped 1 percent after posting an 11.5 percent annual rise in U.S. August sales.
Sony eased 0.8 percent after unveiling two new wearable devices on Wednesday in an attempt to bolster sales at its struggling mobile business.
Shanghai up 0.7%
China's benchmark Shanghai Composite hit another 14-month peak, up for the fifth straight day, while Hong Kong stocks were flat following Wednesday's 2 percent rally.
Real-estate developers rallied on reports that China will ease financing rules for some property firms by allowing them to sell medium-term notes in the interbank market. China Vanke jumped 1.8 percent while Poly Real Estate added 1 percent.
ASX 0.5% lower
Australian shares extended losses into a second day, closing at a near one-week low despite stronger-than-expected trade data. July's trade deficit narrowed to A$1.36 billion, lower than the A$1.5 billion deficit that markets were expecting.
Kospi gains 0.2%
investors also digested revised second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data, which rose 0.5 percent on quarter, lower than estimates and below the first quarter's 0.6 percent rise.
Nifty dips 0.5%
Indian shares pulled back after three straight record highs as investors engaged in profit-taking.