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Asian Shares Mostly Lower In Cautious Trade

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Asian stocks fell on Thursday but held near eight-month highs after the European Central Bank left its ultra-easy stance unchanged as expected and EU leaders agreed to extend the deadline for U.K. to leave the union to the end of October.

Gold held near a two-week high touched in the previous session as the dollar struggled for a fourth straight day in view of a dovish turn by the European Central Bank and pretty tame inflation data from the U.S.

The British pound was trading flat after the U.K. and the EU agreed a "flexible extension" of Brexit until 31 October.

Oil prices dipped after data showed U.S. crude stockpiles surged to their highest levels in almost 17 months amid record production.

China's Shanghai Composite index was down 0.6 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was losing 0.8 percent despite more signs of progress in U.S-China trade talks.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that a call with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He on Tuesday night was productive and the two sides have settled on a mechanism to police any agreement, including new enforcement offices.

Japan's Nikkei index was moving down 0.3 percent in choppy trade, as the yen strengthened and investors awaited earnings results from Yaskawa Electric later in the day.

Financials were broadly lower after U.S. Treasury yields weakened overnight on expectations that the Fed would hold rates steady or possibly cut them by the end of the year.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 dropped half a percent, dragged down by miners and banks, while New Zealand's NZX-50 index was rising half a percent. Seoul shares were little changed.

U.S. stocks rose overnight as U.S. consumer prices rose more than usual in March and minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting suggested that interest rates could shift in either direction.

The Dow inched up marginally, while the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.7 percent to reach its best closing level in over six months.

European markets ended mostly higher on Wednesday despite ECB President Mario Draghi confirming slower growth momentum in the eurozone.

The pan European Stoxx 600 inched up 0.3 percent. France's CAC 40 index rose by 0.3 percent and the German DAX gained half a percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1 percent.

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