Published on 15 Apr, 2016 , by Reuters

Japan's Nikkei .N225 was down 0.3 percent, while Australian shared edged up 0.4 percent . Other modest gainers included Malaysian and Indonesian stocks.

Shanghai .SSEC lost 0.4 percent, while South Korea's Kospi .KS11 inched down 0.1 percent.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.1 percent. The index has gained about 3.5 percent on the week during which it hit a five-month high, helped by a slight thaw in pessimism over the Chinese economy and an earlier surge in crude oil prices.

Stocks have gained globally this week against this backdrop, with the S&P 500 .SPX reaching its highest point so far this year overnight, and taking it a step closer to record highs scaled almost a year ago.

China's economy grew 6.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, meeting expectations and providing additional evidence that a slowdown in the world's second largest economy may be bottoming out.

"There are a lot who doubt the current market rally at the moment, particularly when the S&P 500 is so close to its all-time highs," wrote Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG in Melbourne.

"And yet, in a world where one-third of government bonds have negative yields, there is a strong incentive to increase one's equity allocation in pursuit of positive returns."

Oil prices have pulled back from recent peaks on concerns that the top producers' meeting may not result in a tightening of supply. [O/R]