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Asian equities mixed; weak yen lifts Nikkei to 8-month high

Asian indices traded mixed on Thursday, overlooking a positive handover from Wall Street, after key monthly data from Australia and China showed mixed results.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said in an address to the nation Wednesday night that the U.S. would conduct a campaign against the Islamic State. He said that the country would conduct a "systematic campaign" of airstrikes, which will include Syria, where the U.S. will also provide assistance to opposition forces.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose, with social media shares boosting the technology sector and as investors pondered when the Federal Reserve would start hiking interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3 percent while the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent, rebounding from its largest decline in a month. The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 0.8 percent.

Read MoreWhy stocks could get slammed soon

Asia calendar

Asia is on central bank watch, with policy decisions due from Indonesia and the Philippines. Markets are expecting no change from Bank Indonesia, which kept its key interest rate unchanged at 7.5 percent last month, but the Philippine central bank looks set to tighten monetary policy for a fifth consecutive meeting on Thursday.

On early Thursday, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand held its official interest rates at a five-and-a-half-year high of 3.5 percent and signaled that it may slow the pace of further monetary tightening as it assess the impact of lower export prices and softer housing inflation.

Meanwhile, India is due to release August trade data later in the session, while the annual World Economic Forum continues in Tianjin, China.

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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Tokyo rises 0.7%

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index closed at an eight-month high on Thursday, rising for a fourth straight session as the yen traded above 106 against the greenback. The broader Topix rose 0.3 percent to end at a six-year high.

Reports that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a meeting today also lifted sentiment. The meeting is their first in around five months and has fueled expectations for additional easing.

Exporters continued to rally; Sony advanced 2.7 percent while automakers Suzuki Motor and Nissan Motor climbed 3 and 1.2 percent each.

Among top gainers, Dainippon Screen Manufacturing rallied 3.7 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that the firm could turn profitable for the first time in 4 years on the back of LCD panel-making equipment.

Read MoreBOJ steps up easing, drives rates below zero

Chinese shares down

Mainland shares lost early gains to close down 0.3 percent in the afternoon session, as data showing inflation in August easing more than expected gave rise to concerns about the mainland's economic recovery. Earlier in the trading session, the Shanghai Composite index hit a session high of 2,343, levels not seen since March 2013.

Annual consumer inflation eased to 2 percent in August, slower than July's 2.3 percent rise. Producer prices, meanwhile, continued its deflationary spiral, dipping 1.2 percent after falling 0.9 percent in July, a tad worse than the 1.1 percent fall expected.

Hainan Rubber outperformed the bourse by advancing 9 percent on hopes that the firm could benefit from accelerated land transfers brought about by upcoming agricultural reforms.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell in tandem with its Shanghai peers. Geely Automobile lost 1.6 percent, after reporting a 22 percent fall in August's sales.

Sydney falls 0.5%

Australia's S&P ASX 200 index hovered near Wednesday's three-and-a-half-week closing low, despite a startling strong employment report.

The Australian economy added 121,000 jobs in August, data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed on Thursday, much higher than expectations of 12,000 jobs in a Reuters poll.

Mining majors remain in the doldrums amid declining iron ore prices; Fortescue Metals plummeted nearly 2 percent while Whitehaven Coal and BHP Billiton dropped 1 percent.

Myer Holdings lost 13 percent, after posting a 22.6 percent fall in annual net profit, its fourth straight year of profit decline, as sales slid and operating costs continued to rise.

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Seoul skids 0.7%

South Korea's Kospi index widened losses in the final hour of trade to hit a one-month low of 2,034 on Thursday - its first trading day for the week after being shut for the past three sessions due to the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Hyundai Motor plunged 2 percent while Kia Motors tanked 0.9 percent. Samsung Electronics lost 0.8 percent. But Apple-related suppliers bucked the losing trend; LG Display traded 3.3 percent higher while SK Hynix rose 1.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the South Korean won fell to a five-week low of 1036.1 to the U.S. dollar.