ASX up 1%
Australia's S&P ASX 200 index widened gains after data showed the Australian economy added 15,600 jobs in February, above expectations for a 15,000 increase. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, came in at 6.3 percent, matching market consensus. The Australian dollar, which has always been sensitive to the data, last traded at $0.7626 to the dollar.
The big four lenders led the charge for the day. Westpac rallied 1.6 percent, while National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia & New Zealand Banking climbed more than 1 percent, respectively. Whitehaven Coal closed up 2.9 percent, pulling back from a 8 percent surge on news that it struck a deal to refinance $1.4 billion in debt.
However, weakness among iron ore miners capped advances. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton saw losses below 0.6 percent each, while Fortescue Metals lost 1.8 percent.
Early Thursday, New Zealand's central bank held its benchmark rate steady, in line with expectations, and the New Zealand dollar notched up 0.3 percent to trade at $0.7310 per dollar.
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Kospi drops 0.5%
South Korea's Kospi index threw away earlier gains to fall below the flatline in the final hour of trade, while the won bounced off its lowest level since July 2013.
Financials cheered the rate cut; blue-chip KB Financial Group elevated 4 percent, while Woori Bank and Shinhan Financial rallied 3.4 and 2.2 percent each. However, these gains were offset by steep losses among the blue-chips; Samsung Electronics lost 3.4 percent, while Hyundai Motor and Posco eased nearly 3 percent each.
Korean Airlines is in focus after a flight attendant filed a lawsuit against the airline and one of its vice presidents over last year's nut rage case. Shares of the national carrier erased early losses to rebound 2.1 percent.
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Rest of Asia
India's benchmark stock index rose almost one percent, helped by some upbeat economic numbers. Data showed industrial output growth up 2.6 percent on-year in January, above analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a 0.65 percent rise.
Other data showed India's annual consumer inflation rose to 5.37 percent in February from 5.11 percent in January.
Thailand's key SET index reversed earlier falls to close 0.3 percent higher -- a day after the country's central bank announced a rate cut.