Asia Stocks Gain on Commodities, US Jobs
Confidence returned to Asia's equity markets on Monday, helped by a brighter jobs picture in the U.S and rising commodity prices as demand expectations picked up.
Hong Kong shares shot up to an eight-week high, the Shanghai Composite closed at a two-week high, and Australia's S&P ASX 200 index pared gains after hitting fresh respective highs. However, Seoul's Kospi reversed earlier gains to close down 0.2 percent.
Meanwhile, Malaysian stocks rose to a historic high on Monday after Prime Minister Najib Razak won Sunday's general election.
Japanese financial markets remained closed on Monday for a public holiday and will resume trade on Tuesday.
(Read More: What to Expect in Asia This Week)
Jobs Data Boost
Friday's non-farm payrolls report showed the U.S. economy created 165,000 new jobs in April, surpassing market forecasts. The report eased concerns about the world's number one economy and sent commodities soaring.
Greater China Up
Energy stocks tracked global gains in commodity prices, helping the Hang Seng Index trade within sight of the 23,000 mark for the first time since March. PetroChina jumped 2.1 percent while CNOOC rose 1.4 percent and Sinopec was up 1.8 percent each.
Meanwhile, Shanghai's benchmark index rallied over 1 percent to cross the 2,230 level with mining stocks in focus. Zinc miner Yunnan Chihong and Baotailong Coal rallied over 3 percent each.
Malaysia Hits Highs
Malaysia's financial markets witnessed a historic day as the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index crossed the 1,720 mark for the first time ever, briefly touching an intra-day peak of 1,826.
Investors cheered the victory by Barisan Nasional (BN) and incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak as a confirmed sign of political stability and policy continuity.
Kospi Turns Negative
The benchmark index pared gains to end at the 1960 mark after hitting a one-month high earlier in the session. The construction sector was one of the best performers with 14 percent gains in Namkwang Engineering and Byucksan Engineering.
Investors in Seoul are awaiting central bank moves as the Bank of Korea (BOK) holds its policy rate review meeting on Thursday.
The BOK may be under some pressure to ease after last week's European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate cut as more central banks join Japan and the U.S in the worldwide stimulus bandwagon.
Sydney Loses Momentum
Resource plays were Australia's star performer with Mirabela Nickel sky-rocketing 50 percent and Karoon Gas rising 22 percent. Lynas, which has a rare earths plant in Malaysia, added 16 percent after Malaysia's ruling coalition party won re-election and soothed investor nerves.
The index briefly crossed the 5,200 mark to touch a fresh four-and-a-half-year high but has since pared gains.
Focus is on the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) interest rate decision on Tuesday.
"Expectations are rife that the RBA will cut rates, with the swaps market factoring in a 57 percent chance for tomorrow. However, we think this is slightly optimistic. RBA Governor Glenn Stevens still talks of green shoots, however small they might be. This language has not changed, which is why we believe they [RBA] won't move tomorrow," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG Markets in a note.
— By CNBC.Com's Nyshka Chandran; follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC