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Asia stocks gain after strong US lead; Shanghai at 1-month high

Asian stock markets rose on Monday following last week's rally on Wall Street, as investors brushed off a worse-than-expected U.S. jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 posted their best two-day gains in four months despite January's weak non-farm payrolls report. 113,000 jobs were created last month, well below estimates of 185,000, while the jobless rate fell to 6.6 percent versus expectations of 6.7 percent.

"The Fed is not likely to consider the non-farm payrolls report solely in its decision without due regard to the range of labor market indicators available, and in that context things are looking stable," wrote analysts at Mizuho Bank in a morning note.

Focus now falls on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's first testimony before Congress on Tuesday as traders look for clues whether U.S. monetary policy will remain supportive.

(Read more: China data, central banks in play for Asia this week)

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
---
HSI
---
ASX 200
---
SHANGHAI
---
KOSPI
---
CNBC 100
---

Shanghai up 1.7%

Mainland shares closed at a more one-month high after resuming trade last Friday following a week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

Automakers led the gains after the government reduced the size of subsidy cuts to electric vehicles in a bid to lower emissions. BYD and FAW soared as much as 10 percent each.

Brokerages rallied after the central bank said that it will step up efforts to protect the financial system against risk from wealth management products and local government debt. Citic Securities rose 3 percent while Jilin Aodong added over 3 percent.

The nation's largest real estate developer, China Vanke added over 1 percent after reporting an annual 45 percent rise in January sales.

(Read more: Selloff, so what? Analysts are sticking to their guns)

Nikkei up 1.7%

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index rose to a one-week high, extending Friday's 2 percent rally, as a weaker yen overshadowed disappointing economic data. The currency fell to one-week lows against both the greenback and the euro in early trade.

SoftBank rallied nearly 6 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint is rethinking its acquisition of T-Mobile. The Japanese telco bought control of Sprint last year.

Automakers were in the spotlight; Toyota Motor rose 1.6 percent on news that it is reportedly nearing a $1 billion deal to settle a U.S. criminal probe into acceleration problems while Nissan Motor added 0.1 percent ahead of releasing earnings later in the day.

Meanwhile, data showed the economy posted a record current account deficit for December.

(Read more: Japan ruling party candidate elected Tokyo governor)

Sydney 1% higher

Australia's resource-heavy benchmark index ended at its highest levels in nearly two weeks but larger gains were capped on caution ahead of a raft of earnings reports due this week.

Banks were among the top performers with Australia New Zealand Banking and Commonwealth Bank of Australia both over 1 percent higher while National Australia Bank jumped 1.9 percent on reports that the lender may be considering a float of its U.K. operations in London

(Read more: Hold on tight, the Aussie rally may just be starting)

Kospi flat

South Korean shares eked out slim gains to close at a one-week high, but trading throughout the session was rangebound as investors looked ahead to Thursday's central bank meeting. In earnings news, KB Financial fell 1 percent after its 2013 net profit slumped an annual 25.9 percent.

(Read more: Will emerging markets become a euro zone-style risk?)

In India, the benchmark BSE index was flat around 20,370 points.

By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
---
S&P 500
---
NIKKEI
---
ASX 200
---
RIO
---
BLT
---
FMG
---
8411.T
---
8316.T
---
8306.T
---
7201.T
---
556
---
30
---
837
---
BYD Ltd
---
TLS
---
Z2-CN
---
CBA
---
JPY/USD
---
NAB
---
9984.T
---
TMUS
---
7203.T
---
7733.T
---

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