The dollar stood near a five-week high against the euro and a three-month peak versus the yen, as robust U.S. economic data eased speculation the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates later this year.
London Brent crude
The Nikkei average <.N225> gained 0.6 percent, led by a near 3 percent jump in Sony Corp. <6758.T> and a 4.7 percent surge in Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. <8316.T> after the banking group forecast a rebound in profits for this year.
But a bigger-than-expected drop in capital spending for the first quarter seen last week capped gains.
''Capital spending has been propping up the economy,'' said Katsuhiko Kodama, senior strategist at Toyo Securities.
''With those numbers weak, it makes institutional investors reluctant to buy. Investors want to see results from the new fiscal year, at the very least first-quarter earnings.'' Chinese stocks soared 1.5 percent to another all-time high.
Comments by a Chinese central bank adviser that Beijing was unlikely to interfere directly in the domestic stock market, also helped boost confidence, following Friday's tightening measures that failed to douse investors' exuberance.
''This made investors quite confident that the stock market will keep rising steadily,'' said Xu Yinhui, analyst at Guotai Junan Securities, one of the biggest Chinese brokerages.
He said the interest rate hike probably aimed to deter excessive speculation, but not to end the bull run. ''The government wants the market to rise -- that's why the monetary tightening was not too severe.'' Hong Kong stocks <.HSI> were led higher by oil producers such as CNOOC Ltd. <0883.HK>, which rose 1.2 percent, while Hong Kong-listed shares in mainland companies <.HSCE> slipped.
Seoul shares advanced to another record as chip makers such as Samsung Electronics <005930.KS> recovered on news its credit card affiliate Samsung Card will list in the domestic bourse next month. The benchmark index <.KS11> rose 0.54 percent.
Singapore stocks also kept on its record-setting run, led by DBS Group
Stronger oil and metals prices boosted Australian resource stocks such as Woodside Petroleum
News that China Steel <2002.TW> would increase steel prices, drove up Taiwan's iron and steel shares, lifting the benchmark index 0.6 percent.
MSCI's measure of Asia Pacific stocks excluding Japan <.MSCIAPJ> rose 0.38 percent to another all-time high and Taiwan's stocks <.TWII> struck a six-and-half-year high.
RESPITE FOR DOLLAR Latest deal news, including China's $3 billion investment in private equity group Blackstone, helped the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rise 0.15 percent to near record highs.
The Nasdaq index <.IXIC> gained 0.8 percent, but the Dow Jones average <.DJI> shed 0.1 percent, after hitting an intraday record high.
Upbeat U.S. economic data last week offered the dollar a breather from a wave of selling that had pushed it to a record low against the euro last month.
The euro hovered at $1.3454
The dollar was steady at 121.50 yen
Shanghai copper rose almost 1 percent, after a 5 percent climb in the previous session and gains in London futures overnight.
REUTERS SM VV0947