Australian shares snapped a three-day losing streak on Thursday, helped by gains in heavyweight banking stocks, while investors digested weaker-than-expected domestic employment data and a slew of corporate earnings.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.8% higher at 7,605.70. The benchmark had slipped 0.7% on Wednesday.

Data showed Australian employment was surprisingly weak in January, while the jobless rate climbed to a two-year high, raising the possibility that the labour market might be cooling faster than previously thought.

"The unexpectedly weak employment data today reflects the lagging impact of the RBA's (Reserve Bank of Australia) tightening efforts and a growing cautiousness from the business perspective," said Hebe Chen, a market analyst at IG.

"Before the next RBA monetary meeting, January's monthly inflation report would carry more weight in assessing the outlook for inflation development in Australia", added Chen.

Meanwhile, a slew of domestic corporate earnings took centre stage on Thursday, with Whitehaven Coal and South32 posting lower profit, while BHP flagged $5.7 billion of impairments on the Samarco dam failure and its Western Australia nickel operations.

Origin Energy closed 2.5% higher, after the energy retailer posted strong underlying profit and forecast higher operating earnings from its energy markets division. Financial stocks ended about 1% higher. The "Big Four" banks gained between 0.1% and 1.5%.

In contrast, mining stocks retreated 0.9% to their lowest since Nov. 13, while energy stocks fell 2.1%, with shares of Woodside declining 3%.

Woodside said it expected to recognise non-cash post tax-asset impairments of around $1.5 billion in its fiscal 2023 earnings.

Tech stocks closed 6.8% higher hitting their highest level since early January, 2022.

Altium's shares hit a record high on receiving a $5.9 billion buyout offer from Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.2% lower at 11,640.04. (Reporting by Sherin Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema)