Asian markets were mixed on Thursday as Chinese data showing manufacturing activity in the world's number two economy picked up in March, while Tokyo was lifted by renewed weakness in the yen.
Traders are also keeping an eye on developments in Europe, where officials in Cyprus will present later in the day a revised fund-raising plan to help it access crucial bailout cash.
Wall Street provided a positive lead after the US Federal Reserve kept its huge stimulus measures in place and said the economy has shown signs of picking up.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index climbed 1.34 percent, adding 167.46 points to 12,635.69, supported by expectations of aggressive easing steps from the Bank of Japan under a newly installed management team, said Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities.
"The US easing stance will remain intact for a while and the BoJ will embark on anti-deflation measures."
Investors are focusing on a news conference by BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda later Thursday while looking to see whether the bank will launch any new policy measures before its next meeting in April.
"The key is whether he will talk about scheduling an interim board meeting in the coming days," Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at investment strategy at Okasan Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Nomura Holdings gained 2.24 percent to 591 yen, Kyocera rose 3.08 percent to 9,020 yen while Canon gained 1.28 percent to 3,535 yen while Sony was up 1.74 percent to 1,690 yen.
The Shanghai index gained 0.30 percent, or 6.87 points, to 2,324,24, but Seoul closed 0.44 percent lower, losing 8.59 points to 1,950.82, while Hong Kong shed 0.14 percent, or 30.56 points, to end at 22,225.88.
Sydney fell 0.16 percent owing to political uncertainty after Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a snap leadership vote among her Labor party, which has grown frustrated at its weak showing in polls ahead of a September election.
The S&P/ASX 200 ended down 7.9 points at 4,959.4, having spent the day either side of the break-even line.
Soon after the market closed Gillard won an unopposed poll as the man tipped to stand against her, Kevin Rudd, opted against running at the last minute.
In China, HSBC bank released preliminary figures showing a healthy rise in the manufacturing sector.
The China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 51.7 in March, from 50.4 in February. A reading above 50 indicates expansion and anything below points to contraction.
The latest figures break a recent spell of worrying results from trade to inflation that have raised concerns about the economy, which saw its weakest growth in 13 years in 2012.
"This implies that the Chinese economy is still on track for gradual growth recovery," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement.
And Hannah Li, senior equity analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial, told Dow Jones Newswires: "We've had a slew of weaker-than-expected economic data for February, so the HSBC flash PMI at least sooths some worries about the Chinese economy."
On currency markets, the euro and dollar eased against the yen, having enjoyed healthy gains in New York trade.
The euro bought $1.2923 and 123.90 yen in Asia on Thursday, compared with $1.2937 and 124.17 yen in New York late Wednesday. The dollar fetched 95.84 yen against 95.98 yen.
Oil prices were softer, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, dropping 38 cents to $93.12 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for May delivery was down 17 cents to $108.73 55.
Gold was at $1,608.40 an ounce at 0810 GMT compared with $1,610.87 late Wednesday.
In other markets:
Wellington slipped 0.16 percent, or 6.93 points, to 4,342.51.
Mainfreight fell 4.7 percent to NZ$11.20 and Telecom eased 1.3 percent to NZ$2.23, while Fletcher Building was up 1.6 percent at NZ$8.71.
Manila closed 0.83 percent higher, adding 53.36 points to 6,472.98.
The index had lost 5.79 percent over the previous eight sessions.
SM Investments rose 0.29 percent to 1,025 pesos, Philippine Long Distance Telephone added 3.23 percent to 2,810 pesos and Megaworld Corp was 2.22 percent up at 3.69 pesos.
Taipei rose 0.18 percent, or 13.81 points, to 7,811.84.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.10 percent lower at T$98.7 while HTC shed 3.04 percent to