Japan Outperforms Amid Lackluster Asia Trade
Tokyo stocks jumped back near a 33-month high on Tuesday while other Asian shares lacked momentum with many regional bourses shut for holidays as investors await the U.S. president's State of the Union address for trading cues.
The CNBC FTSE Asia 100 index climbed 0.3 percent higher.
Japan's Nikkei share average gained 1.9 percent on Tuesday, boosted by financials after a U.S. Treasury official voiced support for Japan's aggressive policies to combat deflation and bolster growth, prompting the yen to soften.
The benchmark added 215.9 points to 11,369.1, within reach of a 33-month high of 11,498.4 struck last Wednesday. The broader Topix rose 1.2 percent to 968.5.
The securities sector, which jumped 5.3 percent, was the best sectoral gainer on the main board, with Nomura Holdings soaring 5.9 percent and Daiwa Securities jumping 4.8 percent.
Isuzu Motors shed 5.2 percent after the automaker disappointed investors by retaining its operating profit and sales forecast for the year ending March 31.
South Korean shares slipped on Tuesday but the market largely shrugged off news that North Korea had conducted a nuclear test.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.3 percent to close at 1,945.79 points.
Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics closed up 0.4 percent, extending a 3 percent gain on Friday.
Tongyang Networks plummeted 8.3 percent after it said preferential talks with IBM's South Korean unit to buy its IT services business had been tentatively postponed.
Australian shares finished flat on Tuesday, with the main stock index meeting resistance near the 5,000 mark ahead of a slew of corporate earnings due this week.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.5 points lower at 4,959 after falling 0.2 percent on Monday in thin trade.
Shares in Whitehaven Coal jumped 7.7 percent after the Australian government approved its key growth project, the Maules Creek coal mine.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia's top lender, outperformed its banking peers, rising 0.6 percent to an all-time high of A$65.74.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index also finished flat, slipping 2.4 points to 4,218.1.
In South Asia, India's BSE Index gained 0.5 percent while the 50-share NSE Index ended up 0.4 percent.
Financial markets in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore remain closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.