Asian markets traded mixed in the morning, beginning the week on a lacklustre note, as investors considered the better-than-expected US job figures and disappointing China industrial data.
The Japanese benchmark Nikkei average index traded 0.92 percent or 113.55 points higher to 12397.6 while South Korea's KOSPI eased 0.08 percent or 1.70 points to 2004.3.
China's Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.29 percent or 6.82 points to 2311.8. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.64 percent or 147.35 points to 23239.3.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX gained 0.39 percent or 19.90 points to 5143.3.
Monthly US employment data released towards the end of previous week had shown that employers in the world's largest economy added 236,000 workers to their payrolls in the month of February, taking the unemployment rate down to a four-year low. The upbeat data cheered US market sentiments despite some analysts expressed concerns on the sustainability of the labour market recovery.
"Traders didn't seem to be worried that this [the jobs data] could be a flash in the pan with the $85 billion sequestration cuts kicking in soon," said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets in Singapore.
"Instead it pointed to the effectiveness of quantitative easing and raised hopes the US economy had now gained enough momentum to weather the storm of government spending cuts and higher taxes".
Meanwhile, a number of Chinese indicators released over the weekend failed to be as positive. China's inflation figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that consumer prices index rose 3.2 percent year-on-year in February. Food prices jumped 6 percent, indicating the increased spending during the Lunar New Year holidays.
A higher inflation rate raises the risks of government looking to tighten its monetary policy.
China's industrial output and retail sales figures for the first two months of 2013 were also released over the weekend. The data disappointed, with factory production dropping to 9.9 percent year-on-year and retail sales slipping to 12.3 percent.
But analysts point out that the data need not necessarily raise concerns on China's recovery efforts and that it could rebound in the coming months.
In Japan, sentiments remained upbeat as the dollar continued to remain at multi-year highs against the yen, trading at over ¥96. Japanese investors' stimulus optimism received another boost after official data released early in the day showed that core machinery orders in the country fell more- than -expected in January.
Exporters continued to gain in Tokyo. Electronic major Toshiba was up 5.76 percent while automobile majors Fuji Heavy Industries and Mazda Motor Corp added 3.26 and 1.61 percent respectively.
Financial stocks gained in Hong Kong. Shares of AIA Group rose 1.92 percent while those of BOC Hong Kong Holdings were up 1.70 percent.
South Korean exporters continued to trade lower, contrasting their Japanese counter parts. Automobile majors Hyundai and Kia were down 1.87 and 1.50 percent respectively.
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