Japanese equities rose to a new six-year closing high on Monday, it's final trading day of the year, after dollar-yen hit new multi-year highs. Elsewhere, the rest of the region was mixed in subdued trade due to the holiday period.
A tepid handover from Wall Street last week capped larger gains in the region. The S&P 500 and the Dow were little changed, while the 10-year Treasury note yield rose above the 3 percent threshold, hitting its highest levels since July 2011.
Key data in the week ahead includes U.S. consumer confidence on Tuesday and weekly jobless claims on Thursday. Fed officials including Chairman Ben Bernanke are due to speak on Friday.
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Nikkei up 0.7%
Japanese shares hit a new six-year closing high for the seventh straight session and posted a nine-day winning streak, it's longest one since 2009. A weaker yen underpinned gains after the currency hit a new five-year low of 105.41 against the greenback.
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With markets shut from December 31 to January 3, the benchmark Nikkei index closed the year up 57 percent to mark its biggest annual gain since 1972, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Among the most actively-traded stocks, banks Mizuho and Mitsubishi UFJ rallied 3 and 2.5 percent, respectively. Automakers gained after local media reported that production may rise next year as carmakers anticipate a rise in car purchases before April's sales tax hike. Mitsubishi Motor and Honda Motor led gains by 0.7 percent each.
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Shanghai dips 0.2%
The mainland's benchmark Shanghai Composite reversed gains in choppy trade after hitting its highest level in over a week at 2,112 points earlier in the session. News that Beijing will "severely deal with" companies that perform poorly in 2014, according to Xinhua, weighed on sentiment.
Financials dragged the index lower with Bank of Communications down 2.3 percent and Minsheng Bank 1.3 percent lower.
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Sydney up 0.5%
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Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton rose 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals climbed 2 percent after copper prices held near four-month highs. That offset news of a looming cyclone, which is expected to hit the resource-rich Pilbara region later on Monday.
Engineering firm Forge Group surged as much as 88 percent after announcing that it will go ahead with contract work at the Roy Hill mine in Western Australia.
Korea adds 0.4%
A weaker yen hurt sentiment in South Korea, capping gains for the benchmark Kospi. Early on Monday, the deputy finance minster warned that the yen was was falling too fast against the Korean won, which hurts the competitive advantage of local manufacturers.
Samsung Electronics skidded 1.7 percent after a local media report said that its quarterly earnings would miss forecasts.
Meanwhile, data showed the nation's current account surplus shrank in November from a record high in October.
India slips 0.24%
India's benchmark Sensex index retreated due to profit-taking while the rupee was steady around 62 per dollar.
— By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC