Asian stock markets advanced Thursday after the heavy sell-off in the previous session. Better-than-expected economic data from the US and Japan offset ongoing uncertainty about Greece's political situation.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei gained 0.70 percent or 61.92 points to 8,863.09, Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.86 percent or 165.23 points to 19,425.06 and Chinese Shanghai Composite surged 1.06 percent or 24.89 points to touch 2,371.09, while Indian benchmark BSE Sensex gained 1.12 percent or 179.64 points to 16,209.73.

Market sentiment recovered slightly in Asia after the solid US economic data showed that recovery in the world’s largest economy is back on track and Japan’s first quarter real GDP recovered in a robust manner.

The US Commerce Department said on Wednesday that Housing starts rose 2.6 percent to 717,000 units in April from an upwardly revised 699,000 units in March, suggesting that the housing market recovery was gaining some traction, while industrial production posted its biggest monthly jump since December 2010.

Economic data from Japan also added to the sentiment. The world’s third largest economy expanded faster than estimated in the first quarter, helped by resurgent domestic demand and government spending. Nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew an annualized 4.1 percent in the January-March quarter from the final three months of 2011.

However, persistent concerns over political developments in Europe limited the upward move. Concern that parties opposing austerity measures in Greece will gain majority in the re-election in June has intensified. This will mean that the debt-ridden nation will not receive the international aid it needs to avoid default and may eventually have to leave the euro zone.

Among the stocks, Mazda Motor Corp. surged 3.77 percent and Sharp Corp. climbed 5.68 percent in Tokyo on after Japanese economy expanded faster than estimated in the first quarter.