Nikkei falls 0.7%
Japan's key Nikkei 225 index settled at a one-week low as dollar-yen retreated below the 118 handle to its lowest levels in two weeks, and as soft economic data from the U.S. and China cast shadows on global growth.
Last Friday's rebound in oil prices was a big hit to Japanese airlines and power companies. ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines tanked 1.7 and 2.1 percent each, with the latter also hurt by news of a 3.1 percent slip in its net profit for the April-December period. Similarly, Kansai Electric Power skidded 6.9 percent, while Chubu Electric Power and Tokyo Electric Power eased 4 percent, respectively.
While most exporter stocks languished as a result of a stronger currency, Honda bucked the downtrend to charge 3.3 percent, despite cutting its profit outlook for the second consecutive quarter last Friday. Toyota Motor and Nintendo also outperformed their respective peers, by finishing 0.2 percent higher.
Read MoreAsia on central banks, China watch this week
ASX adds 0.7%
Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 index finished at a more than four-month high, chalking up an eight-session winning streak, while the Australian dollar inched up to $0.7784 to the dollar, ahead of the central bank's monthly policy meeting tomorrow.
"It seems a lot of traders are banking on a 'sell the rumor, buy the fact' approach, with the market pricing in a 69 percent chance of a cut," said Stan Shamu, IG market strategist. "The ASX 200 is headed towards the September 2014 highs of 5,650 and we could see some consolidation in that region."
Despite crude oil markets reversing last week's rally in early Asian trade, the energy sector remained buoyant. Origin Energy climbed 3.5 percent, while Santos, Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum made gains between 1.1 and 2.7 percent. Smaller gold players Evolution Mining and Endeavor Mining also surged 11.1 and 5.1 percent, respectively, as the gold price gained ground.
JB Hi-Fi bolstered nearly 2 percent, after briefly falling into negative territory on news of a 2 percent fall in first-half profit. Westpac is also in focus as Brian Hartzer starts as the bank's new Group CEO today. Shares of the lender closed up 1.1 percent.