Japanese shares ended virtually unchanged, recouping losses after touching their lowest levels since April 8 earlier in the session. Japan's Nikkei 225 index has seen directionless trading after breaching the psychologically-important 20,000-point level last week, due to profit-taking and China's GDP data released Wednesday.
Toyota Motor, which was in focus for its expansion plans in Mexico and China's Guangzhou city, drifted up 0.4 percent. Export-oriented stocks were mixed, succumbing to the pressure from a stronger currency. Sony tanked 2.3 percent, while Nissan and Canon nursed losses of 0.3 and 0.5 percent each.
Sharp climbed 4.5 percent on the back of news that the loss-making electronics giant could reach a broad agreement on restructuring with its lenders as early as Thursday, Reuters said. Oil plays also helped to limit the bourse's decline; Inpex and JX Holdings bolstered 5.4 and 3.9 percent, respectively.
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Kospi rises 0.9%
South Korea's benchmark Kospi index shot up nearly 1 percent to finish at a three-and-a-half-year high as strong offshore buying helped the bourse to chalk up a five-day winning streak.
Shares of Samsung Group are in focus after the company denied reports that chairman Lee Kun-hee's health has deteriorated. Samsung Electronics rallied 2.1 percent, while the IT solution arm Samsung SDS elevated 1.7 percent on news that it is aiming to almost triple its annual sales to 20 trillion won by 2020 by expanding its mainstay IT-outsourcing business.
Retail conglomerate Lotte said Wednesday that it has withdrawn its bid to buy Italian duty-free company Italian World Duty Free (WDF). Lotte Shopping threw away gains to settle down 0.2 percent.
Shinhan Financial Group closed up nearly 2 percent after its affiliate Shinhan Bank received regulatory approval to buy 40 percent of Indonesia's Bank Metro Express.
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Rest of Asia
Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged up, with the exception of Singapore and India.
The former trimmed losses to end the day down 0.24 percent, from an intra-day high of 3,549 - the index's highest level since December 2007.
The decline appeared attributable to a sharp decline in shares of Singapore Exchange, which closed down 1.6 percent after the bourse operator denied speculation that a stock link-up modeled after the Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect could be in the works for Singapore.
"SGX is not currently in the process of establishing such a link, but remains open to future collaborations which benefit our partners and shareholders," the exchange said in a statement.
In Manilla, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) bounced back from the previous day's sharp falls to close 0.5 percent higher. According to data from the stock exchange, the benchmark index saw net foreign outflow of $33.35 million in the previous session.
Meanwhile, India's Nifty and BSE Sensex index touched one-week lows, led by losses in heavyweight components like Wipro, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services.