The broad MSCI Asia-ex Japan index rose 0.55 percent to 532.06, as of 10:02 a.m. HK/SIN.
Mainland Chinese shares gained in early trade, as the Shanghai composite advanced 0.12 percent and the Shenzhen component added 0.225 percent. The Shenzhen composite rose 0.335 percent.
In South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.97 percent in morning trade as chipmaker SK Hynix jumped more than 6 percent.
Australia’s ASX 200, however, slipped 0.32 percent, with the heavily weighted financial subindex declining 0.69 percent as bank shares sold off.
The moves Down Under came after a report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed the country’s jobless rate at a near eight-year low in February, according to Reuters.
“Some employment reports are more keenly anticipated than others. Today was one of those reports that felt like a big one given the ongoing disconnect between the activity data and monthly updates on the labour market. It was also the employment report that followed the weak Q4 national accounts published two weeks ago,” Gareth Aird, senior economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a note following the data release.
“Today’s data essentially validates why the (Reserve Bank of Australia) has said that the next move in interest rates could be up or down,” Aird said.
With investors initially anticipating a possible rate cut by the Australian central bank, Thursday’s data release moderated those expectations and sent the Australian dollar soaring to $0.7162 from an earlier low of $0.7111.
Japanese stock markets were closed on Thursday for a holiday.
The Fed announced on Wednesday that it would hold steady on interest rates and indicated that no more hikes would be coming this year. That was a reversal from its stance three months ago, when the central bank projected two interest rate hikes for 2019.
The 30-stock Dow fell 141.71 points to close at 25,745.67, while the S&P 500 finished its trading day 0.3 percent lower at 2,824.23. The Nasdaq Composite, on the other hand, closed a touch higher, up 0.07 percent at 7,728.97.
“Markets were geared up for a relatively dovish Fed and in the event got something even more dovish than they (were) expecting,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note.
The Fed currently holds its benchmark funds rate in a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. The rate is used as a key for determining interest on most adjustable-rate consumer debt, like credit cards and home equity loans.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.872 as it attempted to recover after slipping sharply from highs above 96.4 seen in the previous session.
The Japanese yen traded at 110.65 against the dollar, after seeing lows above 111.6 in the previous session.
Meanwhile, investors continue to keep a lookout for developments on the U.S.-China trade front, with U.S. President Donald Trump telling reporters on Wednesday that Washington’s tariffs on Beijing could stay on for a “substantial period of time.” His comments confused some traders, as Trump also said a deal is “coming along nicely.”
A day before the president’s comments, Bloomberg News reported that some U.S. officials are worried China could walk back on some concessions. Negotiations will restart next week when U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin travel to Beijing. Those reports buffeted stocks on Tuesday.
Oil prices declined in Asia’s morning trade, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping fractionally to $68.48 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also fell 0.15 percent to $60.14 per barrel.
— Reuters, CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Jeff Cox contributed to this report.