Nikkei gains 0.3%
Japan's Nikkei 225 continued its advance above the 20,000 mark on Thursday, finishing at a 15-year high for the second straight session.
"The Nikkei has rallied 33 percent in the past six months and [that] is down to the fact the Bank of Japan (BoJ) and the Abe government are working on the same page with mass fiscal and monetary policy stimulus," Stan Shamu, IG market strategist, wrote in a note. "What looks like taking the Nikkei higher still is signs the BoJ is considering even more stimulus as it fails to reach its 2 percent inflation target within the allotted time frame of two years."
Brokerage houses and insurers continued to draw buy orders from investors for the second straight session; Nomura Holdings and Daiwa Securities jumped 2.9 and 2.5 percent each.
Sony fell 1.6 percent, losing earlier upward momentum from news that it is raising its earnings estimates for the second time in three months due to better sales of video games and digital cameras.
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Kospi jumps 1.4%
South Korea's benchmark Kospi index climbed up steadily throughout the day to finish at a new three-and-a-half-year high, thanks to a slew of better-than-expected corporate results.
LG Display rallied nearly 3 percent after reporting its best quarterly profit in more than four years late Wednesday. SK Hynix closed up 1.2 percent following the announcement of a 50.2 percent rise in January-March operating profit from a year earlier, beating market expectations.
Hyundai Motor delivered a better-than-consensus first-quarter net profit of 1.91 trillion won, but the figure is a 1 percent drop from a year earlier. Shares of the carmaker firmed up 3.2 percent.
Meanwhile, South Korea's economy beat expectations to expand 0.8 percent on-quarter over the January-March period, a pick-up from the 0.3 percent in the preceding quarter, government data released before the market open showed. On an annual basis, the country grew 2.4 percent in the first quarter, matching a Reuters forecast but marking the slowest growth since the same quarter in 2013.