Asian markets mostly rose on Thursday as regional investors began to return from their Lunar New Year break, though Tokyo edged lower after a negative lead from Wall Street.
Most trading floors have re-opened but business remains light, with Hong Kong and Shanghai still closed, while focus turns on the resumption next week of China-US trade talks in Beijing.
The two sides will try to hammer out a deal to resolve their long-running tariffs row, with markets broadly hopeful just three weeks before a deadline that will see the US more than double levies on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods.
Donald Trump has said he plans to meet his counterpart Xi Jinping before the end of the month to put the finishing touches to any deal, which would be in both countries' interest as the global economy begins to wobble.
Sydney climbed more than one percent and Wellington put on 0.7 percent with investors cheered by the prospect of an extended period of low interest rates.
Seoul edged up 0.1 percent and Singapore put on 0.8 percent with Manila and Jakarta also well up.
However, Tokyo fell 0.6 percent despite a near 18 percent surge in SoftBank, its biggest rise in a decade, fuelled by news of a US$5.5 billion share buyback using cash from last month's listing of its mobile phone unit.
On currency markets the New Zealand dollar tanked more than one percent on the back of weak jobs data, while the Australian dollar extended Wednesday's sell-off that was fuelled by comments from the country's top central banker hinting interest rates would not rise any time soon. (AFP)