Singapore (Reuters): Asian stocks steadied on Thursday after earlier losses , aided by a weaker dollar as markets studied Federal Reserve meeting minutes that indicated both readiness and caution over raising interest rates.

European markets were headed for a mixed start, with financial spreadbetter CMC Markets expecting Britain's FTSE 100 to open 0.3 percent lower, and Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 to start the day slightly higher.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was unchanged, hovering near the highest level since July 2015 it hit on Wednesday. Earlier, the index lost as much as 0.15 percent. Japan's Nikkei closed fractionally lower, while Australian shares ended the day down 0.35 percent.

South Korean shares were little changed after the central bank kept interest rates steady at 1.25 percent, as expected, for an eighth straight month. China's CSI 300 index, which touched a 2-1/2 month high earlier on Thursday, was 0.5 percent lower after regulators circulated a draft of new rules for the asset management industry aimed a curbing financial risks.