Asian stocks rose on Monday after weak Chinese manufacturing activity raised hopes that Bejing will unveil fresh monetary stimulus to combat slowing growth.
HSBC's flash Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 48.1 in March after hitting a seven-month low of 48.5 in February. Markets are extra-sensitive to the release as worries grow about the health of the world's second biggest economy.
(Read more: China, Japan data in focus for Asia this week)
"Just as tight credit and higher interest rates in the second half of 2013 translated into slower growth in the first quarter of 2014, looser credit and government support for investment in early 2014 will support growth later this year," said Bill Adams, senior international economist for PNC Financial Services Group.
Meanwhile, investors brushed off a negative U.S. lead. Wall Street stocks fell on Friday due to caution over tensions in Ukraine, with the S&P 500 erasing gains after rising to an intraday record.