Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday amid hopes for fresh European stimulus while new data reinforced expectations for tighter U.S. monetary policy.
The euro traded above the $1.06 handle, rebounding after hitting a seven-and-a-half month low of $1.0565 overnight, amid reports on Wednesday that European Central Bank (ECB) officials are considering unconventional easing measures, such as introducing a two tiered deposit rate, Reuters reported.
"According to the report, large depositors would be charged more than small depositors. This plan isn't likely to receive much support from Germany and France whose banks widely use the ECB's facility. However it is clear from today's price action that while investors have considered more stimulus, they have not considered how aggressive or creative they will be," said Kathy Lien, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management.
Meanwhile, positive data on U.S. personal income, durable goods orders and weekly jobless claims released on Wednesday will likely boost the Federal Reserve's resolve to hike interest rates next month, analysts said. U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed in low volume trade following the data deluge. Wall Street will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and the stock market closes at 1 p.m. ET on Friday.
Hong Kong flat
The Hang Seng Index entered negative territory in afternoon trade after rallying as much as 1 percent earlier amid reports that the Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect could be launched by the second-quarter of next year.
Meanwhile, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite ended 0.3 percent lower in quiet trade, erasing earlier gains. News on Wednesday that Beijing announced fresh policies aimed at boosting foreign trade, such as lowering costs for importers and exporters, failed to boost sentiment.
Citic Securities eased 1 percent after the securities association accusing the brokerage of overstating its derivatives business by more than $166 billion. Other brokerages also declined, with Everbright and Haitong Securities 1.6 percent and 0.7 percent lower respectively.
Nikkei adds 0.5%
Japan's index closed in sight of 20,000 points, but the market showed little reaction to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement on Thursday that corporate taxes may be cut by more than planned next fiscal year.
In a report on Wednesday, the government lowered its assessment of November capital expenditure for the first time in a year, citing "pockets of weakness" in the overall economy.
ASX 0.3% higher
Australian shares pared gains after rallying as much as 1 percent but still managed to rebound from Wednesday's losses thanks to a rally among financials. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, AMP and Westpac led gains by more than 1 percent each following a previous session of profit-taking.
Kospi up 1%
South Korean shares ended above 2,000 points after November consumer sentiment shot to a 14-month high, according to central bank data released before the market open.
Philippine stocks were little changed around 7,063 points after third-quarter gross domestic product expanded 6 percent on year following a revised reading of 5.8 percent in the previous quarter.