Asia stocks were mixed on Thursday, dragged by declines on the mainland, knocking the region's Christmas cheer before the holiday period.
But energy stocks still outperformed amid a recovery in oil prices. U.S. crude rose as much as 1 percent in Asian trade after data on Wednesday showed U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels in the last week, compared with expectations for an increase of 1.1 million barrels.
"One could be forgiven for thinking that Santa's sleigh runs on Light-Sweet Cushing, Oklahoma Crude....Of course, this looks like a temporary bounce with plenty of potential for further declines next year when Iran begins exporting oil again," said IG market strategist Angus Nicholson in a morning note.
A third day of gains on Wall Street helped limit further losses in Asia. More healthy economic data saw all three major U.S. averages rally 1 percent overnight. U.S. personal consumption expenditures rose 0.3 percent on-month in November, adding to the market's optimistic mood one day after better-than-expected third-quarter growth data.
Sydney and Hong Kong had a half-day of trading on Thursday while Tokyo and Shanghai will be the only major Asian markets open on Friday.