Nikkei gains 0.5%
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index pulled back from an intra-day high of 18,481, but still managed to snap a four-day losing streak, thanks to the inspiring handover from Wall Street and weakness in the yen.
Meanwhile, data which showed activity in Japan's services sector expanded at the fastest pace in almost two years may have also contributed to the buoyant trading sentiment. The Markit/Nikkei Japan Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 53.7, from 51.2 in July, to hit the highest since October 2013.
Among gainers, heavyweight component Fanuc charged up 1.3 percent, while export-oriented plays such as Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor and Canon attracted hefty buy orders of around 2 percent.
Toshiba shares closed up 2.1 percent after a report by the Yomiuri newspaper said the company may report long-delayed earnings as early as this week.
NTT Docomo jumped 4.4 percent after Barclays upgraded its stock to "overweight" from 'underweight" and raised its target price to 3,000 yen.
Despite the gains on Thursday, some analysts remain cautious on the outlook of the Tokyo bourse. IG market analyst Angus Nicholson, for one, says the key stock index remains "very delicate, with a high likelihood of further downside risks."
"While the Nikkei has been performing better today, it's meeting strong resistance at the 18,500 level. A renewed test of its lows last week around the 17,750 level looks quite feasible over the coming sessions. The gap between call and put options on the Nikkei has reached the widest gap since 2011, which is a strong indication of the prevailing negative sentiment on the index," he wrote in a note issued Thursday.
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ASX eases 1.4%
Australia's S&P ASX 200 index lost upward momentum by mid-morning trade to finish in negative turf, hurt mainly by a steep drop in Myer Holdings.
Myer shares slumped 20.6 percent after coming off a trading halt following the department store's A$221 equity raising announcement.
Other retailers Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi lost more than 4 percent each, after July retail sales unexpectedly slipped 0.1 percent on-month, missing expectations for a 0.4 percent rise and down from June's 0.6 percent rise.
"While periodic negative months are not unusual, particularly in an environment of low retail price inflation, a failure to see a bounce back in retail sales for August would be a concern in that consumer spending is one key sector of the economy helping to offset the mining investment slump," AMP Capital's head of investment strategy and chief economist, Shane Oliver, wrote in a note.
Losses in the banking sector also weighed on the bourse; Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank tumbled more than 2 percent each, while Australia and New Zealand Banking shaved off 1.7 percent.
Trade figures for July were also released on Thursday; the trade deficit improved to A$2.46 billion in July, from a revised A$3.05 billion, due to a rebound in export values, while imports stayed relatively flat.