Nikkei leaps 2%
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index got a boost from rallying financials and a weaker yen, as the local currency traded at 117.7, compared to Tuesday's 116.9 per dollar.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group closed up 5.2 percent on the back of better-than-expected profits in the September-December period, while rival SMFG jumped 2.7 percent. Shares of Nissan Motor bounced up 1.9 percent, cheering news of a 22 percent rise in sales in China for the month of January.
However, Panasonic made losses of 2 percent, following Tuesday's announcement of a 42 percent plunge in its nine-month net profit. Osaka-based Sharp also tanked 4.5 percent after the electronics giant reversed its fiscal year profit forecast late Tuesday, warning that it could instead lose about $256 million following a slump in its television and smartphone screen businesses.
Toyota Motor announced an 8 percent lift in operating profit guidance after the market closed. Shares of the carmaker closed up 2.4 percent. Meanwhile, Sony said its net loss for 2014 was likely less than previously forecast in a press conference, after its stock finished trade 2.7 percent higher on Wednesday.
Mazda, which rose 3.4 percent, and Fuji Heavy Industries, which shed 1 percent, are also scheduled to hand in corporate report cards today.
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Mainland indices mixed
China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index pared gains to settle 1 percent lower, following data that showed China's services sector grew at the slowest pace in six months in January.
Oil-related counters PetroChina notched down 2.4 percent, while China Oilfield Services and Sinopec traded more than 1 percent lower. China Pacific Insurance led losses in the insurance sector, with a 3.7 percent slump. Ping An Insurance and China Life Insurance also shed 2.3 and 1.5 percent each.
Shanghai Electric Power Corp surged by the daily limit of 10 percent after its parent company, China Power Investment Corp, received approval to start work on a merger with State Nuclear Power Technology (SNPTC).
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.5 percent at a one-week high. Standard Chartered was the day's top gainer, rallying nearly 5 percent, after its shareholder Aberdeen Asset Management called it a "very good bank" and reiterated its support for the company.
Meanwhile, shares of Wynn Macau slumped 1.2 percent, trimming losses from a steep 1.8 percent decline earlier, on news that the slowdown in Macau's gaming sector weighed on Wynn Resorts' fourth-quarter earnings.
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Kospi adds 0.6%
South Korean shares trimmed gains from its intra-day peak of 1,970 points in the final hour of trading, but managed to close up amid a broad-based rally. Tech stocks like LG Display and LG Electronics piled on 3 and 1.7 percent, while Samsung SDI tacked on 1.9 percent. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, which was in the focus for winning a $200 million order to build an LNG carrier from an undisclosed client, erased early gains to close down 0.8 percent.
Samsung Electronics finished flat on Wednesday. The heaviest weighted stock on the Kospi index had named Lee Sang-chul, former head of the company's Russian operations, as the new head of strategic marketing at its mobile division.