Asia Largely Ignores U.S. Tax Plan, Stocks Mixed

Asian indexes closed mixed on Thursday, after U.S. equities advanced and the greenback rose following the unveiling of a long-awaited tax reform plan stateside.

The Nikkei 225 index recovered 96.06 points, or 0.5%, to 20,363.11, as most financials and manufacturing names notched gains.

Against the Japanese currency, the U.S. dollar edged up to 112.86 yen after touching as high as 113.19 earlier in the session.

The Hang Seng Index dumped 220.83 points, or 0.8%, to 27,421.60

Among stocks, Chinese insurer ZhongAn Online made its debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday to much fanfare. The online-only insurer saw its stock climb to HK$66 late afternoon, 10.1% above its issue price of HK$59.70. The company is backed by prominent names, including Alibaba Group Holding's Jack Ma, Tencent Holdings' Pony Ma and Ping An Insurance Group's Ma Mingzhe.

In Korea, where markets closed flat, the tech sector turned negative, with shares of heavyweight Samsung Electronics erasing early gains to close down 0.8%. SK Hynix outperformed its peers to climb 1%

In Australia, with the health-care and utilities sub-indexes leading gains on the broader index. Most bank stocks advanced: Westpac closed up 0.6% and NAB rose 0.5%

Shares of delivery services company Yamato Holdings closed up 2.1% following media headlines that the company may have persuaded Amazon to pay more for shipping in Japan.

Meanwhile, Japanese automakers were mixed after a report that Toyota, Mazda and auto parts manufacturer Denso intended to form a joint venture to make electric vehicles. Toyota shares closed 0.3% higher, Mazda surged 3.1% and Denso rose 1.8%. But Nissan finished the session 1.2% lower and Suzuki lost 0.9%.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Thursday kept its cash rate steady at 1.75%. The central bank also said in a statement that a softer Kiwi dollar would help to fuel inflation. That was a slight change in language from the RBNZ's August statement that said a weaker Kiwi dollar was "needed," according to media reports.

A highly-anticipated plan to reform taxes in the U.S. was released by Republicans on Wednesday. The framework proposed bringing the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35% and reducing the highest individual income tax rate to 35% from 39.6%.

In other markets

The CSI 300 inched up 1.34 points to 3,822.54

In Taiwan, the Taiex index slid 30.23 points, or 0.3%, to 10,296.45

In Korea, the Kospi index poked ahead 0.57 points to 2,373.14

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index fell 9.01 points, or 0.3%, to 3,227.14

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 dropped 0.16 points to 7,913.62

In Australia, the ASX 200 regained 6.1 points, or 0.1%, to 5,670.39