Most of the Asian markets rose Thursday as investors remained hopeful that the European Central Bank would announce stimulus measures soon to help boost the euro zone economic growth.

The Chinese Shanghai Composite rose 0.19 percent or 3.85 points to 2041.53. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.32 percent or 60.50 points to 19084.57. Among major losers were Sands China Ltd (2.77 percent) and CNOOC Ltd (1.12 percent).

South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index advanced 0.51 percent or 9.55 points to 1883.58. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd rose 0.84 percent and those of LG Electronics Inc climbed 1.44 percent.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was marginally up 0.06 percent or 5.10 points to 8684.92. Among major gainers were Sumco Corp (3.23 percent), Ricoh Co Ltd (2.74 percent) and Japan Tobacco Inc (1.87 percent).

India's BSE Sensex was up 0.10 percent or 19.18 points to 17332.52. Among major gainers were Infosys (1.78 percent), Tata Chemicals (1.27 percent) and ICICI Bank (0.93 percent).

Market players will be focusing on the ECB meeting in Frankfurt Thursday. Investors sense that the policymakers in the euro zone will need to urgently follow their words with action. A re-launch of the ECB's bond-buying program is the absolute minimum to be expected.

The expectation is that the ECB will neither place limits on its purchases of government debt nor seek seniority over private sector creditors when the plan of the bank is unveiled Thursday. This hope has given support to the bond markets in Italy and Spain.

It is also possible that the bank's purchases may be conditional on the governments in question meeting economic and fiscal targets. In such a situation, the bank could even take steps to stop bond purchases if the governments fail to comply with the demands.

ECB President Mario Draghi's pledge in July to "do whatever it takes" to save the euro has yet to be translated into action. Market participants are hopeful they will get clarity on the ECB's plans Thursday.