Most equity markets in Asia raked in gains on Wednesday, with the exception of Tokyo, bolstered by hopes that the European Central Bank, due to meet on Thursday, may unveil stimulus measures in the form of sovereign bond purchases to boost growth.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) maintained its massive monetary stimulus and expanded a loan program aimed at encouraging banks to boost lending, signalling its resolve to achieve its ambitious 2 percent inflation target. The central bank's governor Haruhiko Kuroda is due to hold a news conference in the afternoon to explain the policy decision.
Overnight, U.S. stocks ended higher after wavering between positive and negative territories, as investors tracked the price of oil and fourth-quarter earnings from corporations including Johnson & Johnson. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 164 points, and bounced back to close flat. The S&P 500 added 0.2 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq settled 0.4 percent higher.
Keeping an eye on oil, U.S. crude futures edged up on Wednesday following steep losses a day earlier but remained below $47 a barrel amid worries over sluggish demand after the International Monetary Fund cut its 2015 global economic forecast. London Brent crude for March delivery was untraded yet, after settling down 85 cents at $47.99.