Chinese and Australian shares ended at seven-year highs on Monday while caution over upcoming central bank meetings weighed on the rest of Asian indices.
The U.S. Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday while the Bank of Japan is due out with its monetary policy decision on Thursday.
Gains on Wall Street last week also helped to boost sentiment in Asia. The Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 both closed at record highs on Friday following tech third-quarter earnings reports. Among big movers, Microsoft rallied 10 percent after posting earnings of 61 cents per share on $21.73 billion on revenue that beat estimates.
China stocks rally
The Shanghai Composite jumped 3 percent to a seven-year peak, while the Hang Seng Index rose to its highest level since December 2007. Investors brushed off weak data released at the market open; industrial profits for the first three months of the year fell 2.7 percent on year, the Statistics Bureau said.
"What's happening in the China market right now is retail money moving back into stocks after a long 5-6 year bear market. With yields going down from deposits to wealth management products and the property market not jumping back, retail investors have nowhere else to go except stocks," said Stephen Sheung, Head of Investment Strategy at SHK Private.
In Hong Kong, HSBC surged 5 percent after announcing that it was considering moving its headquarters to Hong Kong from London.
ASX 0.8% higher
Australia's resource-heavy benchmark also hit a seven-year closing high, building on the index's 1.5 percent rally in the previous session.
Miners led the gains after iron ore prices surged by more than 5 percent to a six-week high of $57 a ton. Fortescue Metals popped 16.3 percent, Rio Tinto rose 3.4 percent and BHP Billiton was 1.6 percent higher.
Telco M2 sank over 5 percent after confirming plans to buy rival iiNet for $1.25 billion.
Nikkei dips 0.2%
Sony lost 0.3 percent on media reports that former executives accused CEO Kazuo Hirai last week of diminishing the company's creativity. This offset news from the Nikkei daily that Sony is expecting an operating profit of 300 billion yen next fiscal period, which would mark its best performance since 2008.
Oil firm Inpex lost 1.3 percent on reports that it is in talks to take a 5 percent stake in a U.A.E. oil concession for $1.1 billion.
Kospi 0.1% lower
South Korean shares reversed early gains, retreating from a four-year high of 2,189 points briefly hit last week. Among blue-chip stocks, Samsung Electronics fell 1 percent.