Asian stock markets traded mostly higher amid choppy trade on Thursday, as a rebound in energy prices provided some reprieve for oil-related counters. In India, markets clinched fresh highs after the country's central bank unveiled a surprise cut in its key repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.75 percent.
"Volatility could be the 'new normal' through first quarter, as markets continue to grapple with falling inflation, spiraling commodities, crazy bond yields, political uncertainties and ultimately a market that feels central banks have no juice to meet their mandates," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG.
U.S. crude rose for a second session, with February delivery up 43 cents at $48.91 a barrel by 0005 GMT. Brent oil also rallied overnight, rising more than $2 or 4.5 percent, also its sharpest percentage gain since June 2012.
A couple of contributing factors, including the options expiration, led to the rebound, analysts say. "There was also roll-over activity, so as the Feb contract is rolling out, the March is going to become the front-month and we will see the volume transition from the Feb into the March," Ben Lichtenstein, president and founder of Traders Audio, told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia."
"In addition, this market has been sold so hard [that] you will see some profit-taking at some time."