Asia Markets

Asia shares mixed in choppy trade after US record gains; ECB in focus


Asia equities were mixed on Thursday as caution over a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting later in the day overshadowed record gains on Wall Street.

While no rate move is expected from the ECB, analysts will look for clues on further stimulus amid recent weak data. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said late on Wednesday that the central bank would have a rough time implementing U.S-style monetary easing.

Read MoreDraghi to face challenge on ECB style: Sources

"Having just recently started its private sector purchase programs and with the next round of TLTRO looming, the ECB is set to remain on hold. However, given still low growth and inflation, Draghi is likely to keep the door open to further actions," said analysts at Societe Generale in a note.

Meanwhile, the Dow and rose to historical peaks overnight, a day after the Republicans take control of the Senate and following a better-than-expected jobs report. Private employers added 230,000 jobs in October, a seventh month of job creation. The data comes before Friday's non-farm payrolls report, which is expected to show slower gains in October.

Nikkei 0.9% lower

Japan's benchmark index reversed earlier gains on profit-taking, snapping a five-day winning streak and retreating from Wednesday's seven-year closing peak. The declines came as the yen moved off a seven-year trough of 115 against the dollar hit earlier in the day.

Read MoreDollar-yen breaksabove 115, what next?

Toyota Motor pared gains to close flat after reporting an 11.3 percent annual rise in operating profit for the July-September quarter after Wednesday's market close.

Is Toyota being too conservative with its guidance?

Rakuten soared 10 percent after reporting a 76 percent annual rise in net profit during the same period.

Shanghai 0.2% higher

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite ended just six points shy of a new 20-month peak following a choppy session.

Read MoreChina's property slump isn't hurting jobs, yet

Brokerages were among the biggest laggards as investors booked profits on recent gains; China Merchants Securities fell over 1 percent while Hong Yuan Securities lost 2.5 percent.

Xinhua Media gained 1.6 percent after signing a strategic agreement for an online bookstore with Tencent. Shares of the latter firm were flat in Hong Kong.

ASX dips 0.2%

Australia's benchmark index fell for a second day after data showed the economy added 24,100 jobs in October, beating estimates. That saw the Australian dollar rise above 86 U.S. cents, off a four-year low of $0.8565 hit overnight.

Bank stocks eased a day before trading ex-dividend; National Australia Bank led losses by 0.7 percent.

Ten Network surged 7 percent after it hired investment bank Citigroup to advise on "strategic options" amid takeover speculation.

Read MoreThanks to APEC, Beijing gets another 'Golden Week'

'Significant' ECB stimulus on the cards: HSBC

Kospi up 0.2%

South Korean shares rebounded from a one-week closing low in the previous session. Hyundai Steel rallied over 4 percent after operating profit soared 133 percent on year in the July-September quarter.