Asian markets surged to close firmly in the green Monday, with the exception of China's Shanghai Composite index, reversing four straight weeks of losses. Tokyo gained 1.6 percent, but South Korea came out tops with a whopping 4.7 percent advance.
Crude oil rose to near a record high within striking distance of $100 a barrel, buoyed by a persistently weak U.S. dollar and forecasts of colder U.S. weather, while strong equity markets weighed on safe-haven government bonds.
Banks, hit hard by fears of credit losses last week, were in favor with gains seen nearly across the board. Australia's Macquarie Group, South Korea's Kookmin Bank and Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ all advanced. Investors also bought major exporters sending Canon and Sony higher.
Major miners were on the rebound after the recent sell-off, with BHP Billiton and take-over target Rio Tinto both climbing. The two benefited from a report in a Chinese newspaper that China's sovereign wealth fund was considering bidding with the country's major steel producers to offer about $200 billion for Rio. The fund, China Investment Corp, denied the report.
A separate report in Japan's Nikkei newspaper said the $200 billion fund was expected to invest some of its assets in Japanese stocks, lending support to beaten down Tokyo stocks and lifting the yen more than 1 percent.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Average accelerated its advance, closing 1.6 percent higher, after the Nikkei daily's report, boosting hopes for new demand for the underperforming market. A robust start to the U.S. holiday shopping season, providing some reassurance about the health of the U.S. economy, also buoyed Sony and other high-tech exporters and automakers such as Honda Motor.