In the currency market, the Australian dollar held on to its gains against the USA dollar.
Overnight, the major US averages rose between 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent to hit fresh record highs, with sentiment underpinned by rising oil prices, better-than-expected corporate earnings and upbeat housing data.
The Bank of Japan on Thursday delayed the time frame for achieving its 2 percent inflation target by a year to fiscal 2019, in a bid to hit its goal against a backdrop of sluggish price gains that have remained resilient to the bank's massive monetary easing initiatives.
"They are going to try and not upset markets", said Nick Gartside, global Chief Investment Officer of fixed income at JP Morgan Asset Management. There was little fresh data or other news for investors to grab onto.
The ECB meets on Thursday and is expected to adjust its language as it gets closer to normalising policy. But it was still near Tuesday's more than one-year high against the greenback of US$1.1583.
The S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 60.31 points or 0.78 percent to 7,672.44, led down by Fletcher Building after it issued a profit warning and announced the departure of chief executive Mark Adamson.
Following the two-day policy board meeting, a quarterly report was released which showed the central bank cut its inflation forecast for the year to March 2017 from 1.4 percent to 1.1 percent and lowered its forecast for the year to March 2019, from 1.7 percent to 1.5 percent.
Qatar Emir to deliver 1900 GMT speech on Gulf crisis
Arab states have been urged to lift a blockade on Qatar after the country changed its anti-terror laws amid a regional crisis. Tillerson's remarks came in a meeting with the Oman foreign minister, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah.
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US, Chinese delegations cancel news conferences on economic talks
During the Wednesday meeting, the two sides agreed to pursue economic cooperation based on the principle of win-win cooperation. The two sides did not call the usual joint press briefing or issue a joint statement of their action plan after the meeting.
While the Nasdaq inched up 4.96 points or 0.1 percent to 6,390.00, the Dow dipped 28.97 points or 0.1 percent to 21,611.78 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.38 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,473.45.
Emerging market currencies also ran out of steam with South Africa's rand, which steadied after a heavy tumble earlier this month, dropping again and lira down 0.2 percent amid a war of words between Turkey and Germany over the latter's criticism of activists' arrests.
"The press conference may be where the action may be, with Draghi likely to rein in the hawks - and policy convergence trades - even as the doves concede ground", noted Mizuho Bank foreign exchange strategist Chang Wei Liang. It's the best-performing G-10 currency this year, climbing 10 percent. "Until something changes, it will rule the world", said Thomas Roth, head of U.S. Treasury trading at MUFG Securities America in NY.
Gold slipped to $1,237 an ounce as the dollar pulled higher, while government bonds, also seen as safe-haven assets, saw modest selling ahead of the European Central Bank meeting.
The major European markets also closed mixed on Thursday.
"There's always risk" surrounding the central bank's possible signals, Mr Anderson said.
Microsoft Visa, eBay, Capital One Financial are due to report results after the closing bell.