SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Stocks in Asia were directionless Thursday as investors were decidedly restless following major gains earlier in the week and the subsequent flop on Wall Street on Wednesday.
"The optimism that buoyed financial markets earlier this week receded as U.S. data continued to articulate the need for further, decisive central bank policy action," a research note published by ANZ Bank said Thursday.
"Attention is now firmly focused on the September labour market report, the market needs to prime for a strong number," the ANZ note said.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 236.04 points, or 0.87 percent to 27,356.57.
The Australian All Ordinaries was flat, finishing up 2.60 points or 0.04 percent at 7,033.50.
In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 declined 54.77 points or 0.49 percent to 11,125.24.
South Korea's Kospi Composite gained 31.84 points or 1.44 percent to 2,247.06.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng lost 75.82 points or 0.42 percent to 18,012.15.
China's Shanghai Composite was closed for Golden Week.
On foreign exchange markets, the U.S. dollar was slightly easier, except against the New Zealand dollar.
The euro perked up to 0.9908 by the Sydney close Thursday. The British pound was slightly firmer at 1.1323. The Japanese yen inched up to 144.56. The Swiss franc was little changed at 0.9809.
The Canadian dollar was a tad higher at 1.3596. The Australian dollar edged up to 0.6516. The New Zealand dollar surged to 0.5782.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials retreated 42.45 points or 0.14 percent to close Wednesday at 30,273.87.
The Nasdaq Composite fell 27.77 points or 0.25 percent to 11,148.64.
The Standard and Poor's 500 finished 7.65 points or 0.20 percent lower at 3,783.28.