Japanese shares led gains in a mostly flat-to-lower trading session in Asia on Thursday, as a weaker yen bolstered shares in export-oriented firms in catch-up trade after a public holiday Wednesday.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 finished up 170.47 points, or 0.94 percent, to 18,333.41, while the Topix index advanced 12.46 points, or 0.86 percent, to 1,459.96. The yen weakened further against the dollar to trade at 112.76 at 2:19 p.m. HK/SIN, compared with levels near 111.04 in the previous session and at levels below 110 in the previous week.
The weak yen pushed exporter stocks in Japan higher, with Toyota shares climbing 4.79 percent, Nissan up 2.59 percent and Honda gaining 3.93 percent. Shares of electronics maker Sharp rose 3.28 percent, while Panasonic advanced 2.90 percent.
Investigators in South Korea raided offices of Lotte Group, SK Group and government agencies on Thursday as part of a widening probe into alleged influence-peddling that has engulfed President Park Guen-hye, reported Reuters.
The businesses were suspected of providing money to foundations controlled by Choi Soon-sil, who is a close friend of President Park and is at the center of a growing scandal in the country, said Reuters.
On Wednesday, investigators had raided offices of Samsung Group and the National Pension Service, South Korea's largest pension fund, as part of the investigation.
In Australia, the ASX 200 wavered between gains and losses throughout the session, but closed near flat at 5,485.07. The heavily-weighted financial sector rose 0.25 percent, but the energy and materials sectors fell 0.50 and 0.60 percent, respectively.
Shares of Boral, which is in the building and construction materials business, closed down 13.31 percent, after the company announced the acquisition of U.S.-based Headwaters for an enterprise value of $2.6 billion.