Asian stocks ran flat to higher Monday. Japan and South Korea finished in the black. Trading activity was muted markets in Australia and Hong Kong closed for the Easter holiday. They will reopen Tuesday. Friday was a holiday in the United States and around 40 other countries worldwide.
The U.S. dollar steadied against the yen , well above a 13-year low touched last week thanks to a series of aggressive efforts by the Federal Reserve to ease the U.S. credit crisis.
The Japanese business survey index of sentiment at large manufacturers in the January-March quarter was minus 12.9, compared with plus 5.2 in October-December, a government survey showed just before the opening.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Average ended almost flat after a three-day winning streak, with gains by exporters like Honda Motor offsetting declines of insurers such as Millea Holdings. In thin trade Japan's three largest banks, including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group, extended gains, all rising more than 2 percent.