Asian equities finished Monday mixed despite upbeat Chinese economic data and a record close on Wall Street.
A flash reading of HSBC's China purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 50.8 in June, the first expansion in six months. The figure was well above May's final reading of 49.4 and Reuters estimates for 49.7.
Friday's session on Wall Street also underpinned gains in the region. U.S. stocks rose for the sixth straight day, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the hitting record highs.
Iraq in focus
Developments in Iraq also remained front and center. Militants reportedly seized a frontier post on the Iraqi-Syrian border on Sunday, a day after grabbing another border crossing further north. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that the U.S. wanted Iraqis to find an inclusive leadership to contain the Islamist insurgency but would not decide on its rulers.
Nikkei up 0.1%
Japan's benchmark ended at its highest level since January 29 after data showing that domestic manufacturing activity in June expanded for the first time in three months. Investors were also optimistic ahead of Prime Minister Abe's announcement of more reform measures, part of his "third arrow" plan, sometime this week.
Sapporo Holdings closed down 1.2 percent after the brewer said it would post a special loss of $114 million in the second quarter.
ASX 0.6% higher
Australia's resource-heavy benchmark index rebounded after closing down 1 percent on Friday, underpinned by a rise in commodity prices and China's upbeat data.
Ten Network jumped 2 percent on reports that private equity firm Providence Equity Partners is mulling a potential bid for the media company.
China shares lower
China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index reversed gains to close in negative territory, down 0.1 percent, as fears over a liquidity squeeze resulting from new initial public offerings offset the country's upbeat PMI data.
Infrastructure stocks were among the top losers with Daqin Railway and China State Construction both more than 1 percent lower.
Hong Kong stocks also erased early gains to decline more than 1 percent. Automaker Great Wall Motor slid nearly 4 percent on reports of changes in management during the weekend.
Kospi 0.3% higher
South Korean shares rebounded after ending at their lowest levels in over a month last week, helped by a 1.6 percent gain in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics.
Sensex 0.3% lower
Indian shares declined on concerns that rising oil prices may impact the country's high inflation.