Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday after the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators are laying the groundwork for a delay of a fresh round of tariffs set to kick in on Dec. 15.
Investors also awaited cues from key central bank meetings and the U.K. general election.
Chinese shares ticked higher as investors hoped for a delay in U.S. tariffs and new loan growth data for November topped forecasts. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index gained 0.24 percent to end at 2,924.42 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.79 percent to 26,645.43.
China's bank lending increased more than expected in November, data from the People's Bank of China showed. Banks extended CNY 1.39 trillion new loans in November versus CNY 661 billion in October. Lending was forecast to rise to CNY 1.2 trillion.
Tokyo shares drifted lower as investors kept an eye on key events this week, including the Federal Reserve meeting, the U.K. election and the weekend's U.S.-China trade tariff deadline. The Nikkei average gave up 18.33 points to finish at 23,391.86, while the broader Topix index closed 0.34 percent lower at 1,714.95.
Mitsui OSK Lines and Taiheiyo Cement ended down over 2 percent. Tech shares ended mostly higher, with semiconductor company Sumco climbing as much as 4.2 percent. Advantest and Tokyo Electron rose around 0.8 percent each.
Australian markets rose notably, led by consumer and resource stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 45.70 points, or 0.68 percent, to 6,752.60. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 41.10 points, or 0.60 percent, at 6,853.20.
Defensive stocks inched up, with heavyweights Woolworths Group and Coles Group rising half a percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Online travel agency Webjet soared 9.6 percent on the buzz that it's a takeover target.
Gold miner Evolution rose 1.6 percent while energy stocks Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum and Santos climbed 1-2 percent. Lender Westpac Banking Corp added 0.7 percent ahead of its annual general meeting Thursday.
GrainCorp shed 0.8 percent after the bulk grain handler appointed Fonterra's Robert Spurway as its new CEO and Managing Director.
Australia's consumer sentiment weakened in December in consistent with sharp decline in consumer spending in the third quarter, survey data from Westpac showed.
The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment declined 1.9 percent to 95.1 in December. All components of the index recorded declines in the month.
Seoul stocks gained ground after the release of labor market data. The benchmark Kospi inched up 7.62 points, or 0.36 percent, to 2,105.62.
South Korea's jobless rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 3.6 percent in November from 3.5 percent in October, a government report showed. The rate was forecast to remain unchanged at 3.5 percent. In the same period last year, the rate was 3.8 percent.
New Zealand shares ended little changed, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending up 7.74 points at 11,291.96.
The total value of credit card spending in New Zealand was up a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent sequentially in November, Statistics Korea said today- in line with expectations following the 0.2 percent drop in October.
Singapore's Straits Times index was up 0.6 percent after private sector economists raised their outlook for Singapore's economy this year.
The major U.S. averages slid around 0.1 percent overnight as investors waited to see whether China and the U.S. will strike a so-called phased one trade deal this week.
The downside was capped after House Democrats announced an agreement on President Donald Trump's trade deal with Canada and Mexico.