Australian shares rose 0.5% to set a second straight record closing peak, largely bolstered by gains in top miner BHP Billiton on stronger base metal prices. However, Woodside Petroleum fell on softer oil prices and an analyst downgrade, while gold miners dropped after the price of the precious metal fell.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Average pared earlier losses to finish higher as shipping shares such as Marubeni gained on earnings hopes while Toyota Motor rose on a news report about its plan to launch a fuel-efficient ultra-compact car in Europe.
Singapore's Straits Times Index closed 0.4% lower. DBS Bank's Chief Executive Officer Jackson Tai resigned on Monday after a run of bad news battered the company's share price, leaving an unfulfilled quest to make the bank a big Asian player.
The Hong Kong Hang Seng finished 0.5% lower as China Mobile jumped to a lifetime high amid restructuring talk and after brokers upgraded the stock's price target. Shares of Hong Kong-listed airlines fell sharply as expectations of an industry restructuring waned after Cathay Pacific Airways and Air China's parent company aborted a plan to buy shares in China Eastern Airlines.
Chinese stocks closed 1.1% lower, with the debut of China Construction Bank soaking up liquidity and the fall in Chinese airline shares.