Asian stocks climbed on Tuesday after a strong session on Wall Street which saw the Dow Jones Industrials finishing 20 points shy of 12,000.
Japan's stocks climbed for a second straight session on Tuesday, breaching a key resistance level as it regained some of the ground lost last week, helped by anticipation of upbeat corporate earnings.
The benchmark Nikkei ended the day up 1.2 percent, or 119.31 points, at 10,464.42. The broader Topix index added 1.3 percent to 929.28.
Canon and Kyocera as well as Japan's biggest personal computer firm, NEC, will report earnings this week and could set the tone of the October-December earnings season lasting until early February.
Banking shares staged a rally as foreigners bought up financial stocks. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan's largest bank by assets, rose 3.0 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group added 1.4 percent to 2,934 yen.
But Resona Holdings fell 5.1 percent after it said it would raise $6.6 billion in its global share offering, less than expected, in a sign that investors are skeptical of the Japanese bank's growth prospects as it weans itself from government control.
TDK Corp rose 2.5 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported it had developed a way to manufacture miniature modules for smartphones that pack features into a 30 percent smaller footprint.
Seoul shares edged up, led by technology and auto plays, including LG Display and Hyundai Motor, but gains were limited as the index neared its all-time high.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ended up 0.22 percent.
Shares in KB Financial Group rose 0.5 percent, lifted by local media reports the parent group of Kookmin Bank, the country's largest commercial lender, is in talks with South Korean conglomerates including SK to sell stakes.
Hyundai Motor, the country's No.1 automaker, rose 1.1 percent and Kia Motors advanced 1.2 percent.
Technology issues gained, with LG Display, the world's No.2 flat panel maker, advancing 2.6 percent. Samsung Electronics, the world's No.1 memory chip maker, rose 0.4 percent, helped by a strong rise in the U.S. Philadelphia semiconductor index.
Australian stocks finished 0.5 percent higher, with retailers leading the way after tame inflation data pointed to interest rates on hold for some months yet.
Consumer prices rose by less than expected in the December quarter, which came as a relief to the retail sector, which was knocked on Monday after a profit warning from top retailer Woolworths.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 21.8 points to close at 4,807.8, according to the latest data, adding to a 0.6 percent rise on Monday.
Woolworths recouped more than half its loss from Monday, jumping 1.6 percent to A$27.18, with most of the gain coming after Australia's quarterly inflation data was released. Rival Wesfarmers rose 0.8 percent.
Department store chain Myer and retailer JB Hi-Fi both rose around 1 percent.
Among the miners, BHP Billiton rose 0.3 percent, while Rio Tinto climbed 0.5 percent.
Three of the four big banks rose, but Australia and New Zealand Banking Group fell 0.2 percent after Australian competition tsar Graeme Samuel said comments last year by ANZ CEO Mike Smith about future rate moves amounted to price signaling.
China's main stock index closed down 0.7 percent, led by resource stocks, as a money market squeeze reduced cash flow into the stock market, adding to investor woes as confidence was
already hurt by lingering worries over monetary tightening steps.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended at 2,677.4 points, its lowest closing level since Sept. 30 and extending a 0.7 percent fall on Monday on top of a 2.7 percent drop last week.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 0.1 percent.
Taiwan's main TAIEX share index closed up 0.5 percent, with tourism shares jumping nearly 2 percent after a report that individual mainland Chinese might soon be able to freely travel to the island.
In Singapore, the benchmark Straits Times Index ended the trading day 0.1 percent lower.
Keppel Land posted an eight-fold rise in fourth quarter net profit to S$841 million ($655.3 million), helped by a S$363.8 million one-time gain from the sale of its one-third interest in a large office project.
However, the world's largest-listed palm oil firm Wilmar International, fell 1.8 percent to S$5.34 after JP Morgan said the company's share of associates' earnings may be depressed.
Singapore-listed fabric maker China Gaoxian also underperformed the market, dropping 22.7 percent to S$0.34 after its Korean depository receipts (KDR) fell on their first trading day.
The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 index fell 0.5 percent.