Asian markets were mixed Thursday as investors remained watchful ahead of the European Central Bank meeting later in the day in which stimulus measures to boost the faltering euro zone economy are expected to be announced.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.32 percent or 27.69 points to 8669.54. Among major gainers were Sony Corp (5.21 percent), Sharp Corp (4.15 percent) and Taiheiyo Cement Corp (4.14 percent).

The Chinese Shanghai Composite marginally fell 0.08 percent or 1.69 points to 2121.67. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.46 percent or 91.64 points to 19728.74. Among major losers were PetroChina Co Ltd (2.44 percent) and Wharf Holdings Ltd (1.76 percent).

South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index was marginally up 0.04 percent or 0.72 points to 1880.65. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd dropped 1.46 percent and those of Hyundai Motor Co rose 0.63 percent.

India's BSE Sensex fell 0.13 percent or 22.32 points to 172335.06. Major losers were Hero MotoCorp (1.24 percent), Tata Motors Ltd (0.40 percent) and HDFC Bank (0.34 percent).

Despite acknowledging the evident slowdown in the U.S. economic growth, the Federal Reserve declined to take any additional action at the conclusion of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting Wednesday. However, the Fed offered a hint that it might be prepared to do more at the next meeting in mid-September. Market players will have to wait for Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at the Fed's Jackson Hole Symposium at the end of this month for further hints of what the Fed might do next.

Market focus was on the European Central Bank monetary policy decision Thursday. Investors sensed the urgency for the ECB to announce monetary easing measures to strengthen the global economy. They felt that bold measures, including easing in the monetary policy, would give a much-needed thrust to boost liquidity in the European financial system.