Major indexes in Asia notched gains on Monday after Wall Street closed out last week at records and the dollar remained on the back foot.
The Nikkei 225 rose 0.54 percent as technology and financial names rose early in the session. Automakers proved to be a mixed picture.
Shares of SoftBank Group jumped 4.26 percent following news from Nikkei Asian Review that the company aimed to list SoftBank Corp., its mobile arm, both in Tokyo and abroad this year. The listing could raise around 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) for the company, Nikkei added.
SoftBank said in a statement the listing of its mobile unit was an option for the company, but that no official decision had been made.
Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi tacked on 0.34 percent in early trade. Heavyweight Samsung Electronics, which had fallen for most of last week on the release of poorer-than-expected profit guidance, added 1.16 percent. Other tech names, however, were in negative territory, with SK Hynix declining 1.34 percent.
Meanwhile, bitcoin-exposed stocks retraced losses seen last week following news about a potential ban on cryptocurrency trading in South Korea. Omnitel rose 21.31 percent and Kakao advanced 3.2 percent.
Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.34 percent, with the materials and gold producer sectors among the best-performing in early trade. Major miners BHP and Rio Tinto were up 1.21 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
Gold producers were also in positive territory on strength in the yellow metal linked to dollar softness. Newcrest Mining rose 2.66 percent and Evolution Mining was up 4.69 percent.
MSCI's broad index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan on Monday recorded a fresh record high, clearing a more than 10-year peak of 591.50. The index was up 0.25 percent at 591.65 at 8:05 a.m. HK/SIN.
US stocks touched record levels on Friday after major banks, including J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo, announced better-than-expected quarterly reports. Earnings season kicked off last week and is expected to be robust, with fourth-quarter S&P 500 profits forecast to increase 11.2 percent, according to UBS.
The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 0.89 percent, or 228.46 points, to close at a record high of 25,803.19.
U.S. markets will be closed on Monday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Meanwhile, data released Friday showed US consumer prices excluding food and energy rose 0.3 percent in December from the prior month, beating the 0.2 percent forecast in a Reuters poll. Retail sales for December rose 0.4 percent compared to the month before while November figures were adjusted upwards.
The dollar index, which tracks the US currency against a basket of six currencies, was flat at 90.900 at 8:46 a.m. HK/SIN. That was below the close of 90.902 last session despite the positive consumer price read on Friday. The index had traded at levels around the 92 handle at the beginning of last week.
The euro was mostly steady at USD 1.2188, trading near its highest levels in around three years. The common currency advanced following Friday news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made progress on the formation of a coalition government. It also followed the release of European Central Bank minutes earlier last week that had been interpreted as hawkish by markets.Against the yen, the greenback traded at 111.03.
Corporate newsIn other public offering news, online finance platform Lufax aims to list in Hong Kong in April, the South China Morning Post reported on Friday, citing anonymous sources. Lufax's potential IPO would come hot on the heels of other "new economy" companies in Hong Kong last year, including online-only insurer ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance.
What's on tap
Here's the economic calendar for Monday (all times in HK/SIN):12:00 p.m.: Indonesia trade data
2:00 p.m.: Japan machine tool orders2:30 p.m.: India wholesale price index data