Asian markets were mostly higher Monday with Japanese stocks leading the gains as the yen dropped to a four-year low against the dollar.
Chinese stocks too picked up momentum in the final hour of trade but ended just below the flat-line. The Shanghai Composite finished down 0.1% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng managed to eke out a slim 0.1% gain as investors remained concerned after a powerful earthquake in South-Western China left 189 people dead over the weekend.
In the currencies market, the yen lost ground against major currencies of the world after Japanese finance minister said the G20 group of countries posed no objection to the Bank of Japan's recently announced aggressive monetary policies to beat inflation.
At the time of writing, the USD/JPY pair was trading 0.3% higher at 99.78. Commodities, including gold, silver and crude oil, were also trading mostly higher in early Asian trades.
Stocks on the move
Exporters in Tokyo posted strong gains boosted by the yen's weakness. Mazda Motor Corp. accelerated nearly 6%, Nissan Motor Co Ltd. rose 2.6% while Tokyo Electron Ltd. and Sumco Corp. moved up around 4% each.
Resources stocks, financials and retailers supported the broad market gains.
In Hong Kong, insurance companies traded under pressure in the wake of the earthquake in the Sichuan province. China Life Insurance dropped 1.9%, Ping An Insurance retreated 0.7%.
Property developers were among other laggards. On the mainland, Gemdale Corp., Poly Real Estate and China Vanke lost more than 2% each.
Among gainers in Mumbai, Coal India topped the charts - bouncing more than 4%, L&T rose 4.2%, HDFC Bank enhanced 3.9% while BHEL improved over 3%.
On the flipside, Wipro tumbled 8% even though the IT giant reported 16.7% rise in net profit for the fourth quarter.
Other IT stocks were also lower -- Infosys lost 2.2% while TCS erased 1.8%.
Auto stocks and some defensives like drugmakers Cipla and Dr. Reddys Lab also moved lower (down around 1% each) during the risk-on session.
In Sydney, miners and banking stocks scored slim gains. Index leader BHP Billiton climbed 1% while Rio Tinto tacked on 1.6%.
Among banks NAB was up 0.6% while Westpac and ANZ rose around 0.2% each.