Asian markets bounced back on Thursday morning, from the previous day's heavy losses, following positive cues from China, Japan, and South Korea.

However, Japanese and mainland Chinese markets retreated in the afternoon session.

The Japanese Nikkei finished 1.59% lower or 219.38 points to 13,605.56.

The Shanghai Composite index was trading 0.16% lower or 3.18 points to 2,043.60.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was trading 0.33% higher or 70.58 points to 21,659.42.

South Korea's Kospi finished 0.30% higher or 5.64 points to 1,883.97 points.

Australia's S&P/ASX finished 1.07% higher or 53.50 points to 5,064.80

Perpetual's head of investment Matthew Sherwood said that the markets have "moved into a 'sell on the rumour, buy on the fact' mode in the wake of the end of the US earnings' season and amid rising concerns about US' [Federal Reserve's quantitative easing] tapering."

In China, stronger-than-expected trade data and last month's upbeat official purchasing managers' index (PMI) data have raised hopes that the world's second largest economy could be stabilising. On Thursday, Chinese government data showed that exports rose 5.1% in July, compared to a Reuters forecast of a 3% increase. Exports had fallen 3.1% in June.

A raft Chinese economic data will be released on Friday, including inflation figures, industrial output numbers, fixed-asset investment, and retail sales data.

Elsewhere, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) left its monetary policy unchanged, in line with market expectations. The central bank also left its assessment of the economy unchanged, at the end of a two-day policy meeting. The BoJ said in a statement that the Japanese economy "is starting to recover moderately."

In South Korea, the central bank also left its policy rate unchanged for a third consecutive month, as was widely expected.

"China trade data for July indicates a rebound of external demand and a re-surgence of domestic demand," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist and strategist of Asia ex-Japan at Credit Agricole.

"All this confirms our view that the [Chinese] economy has bottomed out and will re-accelerate in the second half. We'd like to call the end to worries over China for this year," he added.

Wall Street Down

On Wall Street, indices ended low on renewed concerns about the timing of the US Fed's QE taper.

The Dow finished 48.07 points lower at 15,470.67, pulled down by Disney and the Bank of America. The S&P 500 closed 6.46 points lower at 1,690.91, while the Nasdaq ended 11.76 points lower at 3,654.01.

On Tuesday, The Walt Disney Company reported an almost flat profit for the third quarter, and projected a large loss on the film 'The Lone Ranger', leading to a plunge in its shares in after-hours trading.

Company Stock Movements

In Tokyo, tractor-maker Kubota shot up 3% after it reported a 92% rise in quarterly net profit.

Industrial robots maker Fanuc gained 1.7%, Fast Retailing moved up 1.6%, and telecoms company Softbank added 1.4%.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries dropped by about 8% after it reported a 7.9% fall in first-half operating profit.

In Sydney, Australia's largest phone company Telstra gained 1.6% after it reported a 12% increase in annual profit, beating expectations.

Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto inched up 0.4% ahead of the release of its financial results.

In Hong Kong, property developer China Resources Land gained 1.6%. Bank of China added 1%.

Billionaire Li Ka-Shing's Cheung Kong Holdings moved up 1% as well.

In Shanghai, Jiangxi Copper added 1.8%, while automaker SAIC Motor gained 1.6%.

Property developer Gemdale lost 1.1% while China Minsheng Banking shed 0.4%

Dairy product makers' share prices were mixed after China's Commerce Ministry announced that it would step up inspections of imported dairy products. Beijing Sanyuan Foods added 2% while Royal Dairy lost 1.3%.

In Seoul, chip maker Samsung SDI shot up 2% while rival LG Electronics added 1%. Automakers Kia Motors and part-owner Hyundai Motor gained 1% each.

KB Financial Group gained 1%, while Shinhan Financial Group inched up 0.6%, following the Bank of Korea's interest rate decision.