Nikkei drops 1.2%
Japan's Nikkei 225, which reopens for its first trading session this week after being shuttered for the Golden Week holiday since Monday, closed at a a one-month low.
Heavyweight components were among the early laggards; mobile carrier Softbank tumbled 3.4 percent, while Fanuc and Fast Retailing shaved off 3.5 and 1 percent, respectively.
Education business firm Benesse Holdings tumbled nearly 20 percent to its lowest level since November 2004 on the back of announcing a net loss for the final year ended March.
Bucking the downtrend was Renesas Electronics, which tacked on 7.1 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that the company is expected to see a net profit of more than 80 billion yen for the year ended March 31.
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ASX drops 0.8%
Australia's S&P ASX 200 extended Wednesday's plunge to close at a three-month trough as investors weighed National Australia Bank's earnings release and concerns over whether the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is putting a stop to its easing cycle despite faltering economic growth.
Before the market open, the country's fourth-biggest lender by market capitalization met expectations with a 5.4 percent rise in first-half cash earnings and unexpectedly announced a A$5.5 billion rights issue. NAB has requested for a trading halt following the announcement.
Other major lenders finished mixed; Commonwealth Bank of Australia inched up 0.2 percent, while Westpac and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group sagged 0.3 and 0.6 percent each. Investment bank Macquarie, which reports full-year earnings on Friday, dropped 0.5 percent.
Firmer iron ore and oil prices overnight failed to support the resources sector; Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum sagged more than 1 percent each, while BHP Billiton widened losses steadily to 1.4 percent following a shareholder approval for the demerger of the miner's smaller assets into South32.
On the domestic data front, the Australian economy lost 2,900 jobs last month, missing expectations for a creation of 5,000 jobs and significantly lower than the 37,700 jobs added in March. The Australian dollar was little moved on the data miss, last quoted at $0.7978 against the U.S. dollar.
"The April jobs report is unlikely to have significant implications for the RBA or the outlook for interest rates," Shane Oliver, head of Investment Strategy & chief economist at AMP Capital said. "Our base case remains that rates are on hold at 2 percent, but with the risks on the downside particularly if the Aussie dollar misbehaves."