Asia Zooms on Cheer over U.S. Jobs Data

Asian stocks got off to a strong start to the week, with regional markets closing higher on Monday. Those gains came after stock indexes stateside surged in the last session on expectation-topping U.S. jobs data.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 354.83 points, or 1.7%, to 21,824.03, with gains seen across all of the index's 33 sectors despite developments related to a possible cronyism scandal in the country.

The Hang Seng Index leaped 598.12 points, or 1.9%, to 31,594.33, as energy and tech names led broad-based gains. Index heavyweight Tencent was up 2.4% ahead of the market close.

Japan’s Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal — the country's largest steelmaker — closing higher by 2.8%, JFE Holdings advanced 0.9%.

Against the safe-haven yen, the dollar was a touch softer at 106.63, having gained last week on geopolitical developments concerning U.S.-North Korea ties. The Japanese currency also came likely came under pressure after comments from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Friday were seen as dovish by markets.

Shares of Prada listed in Hong Kong bounced 14.2%, after the luxury retailer said it expected to return to growth this year.

Korean markets increased to their highest levels in around five weeks as manufacturing and tech names notched gains. Samsung Electronics, however, closed flat.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Posco picked up 2.3%, and Hyundai Steel rose 2.4%

In Australia, gains were led by the materials sub-index which rose 1.6%, and energy, which gained 1.2%, while gold producers slid 1.9%
Steel producers in Asia were in focus after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was working with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure that Australia would not face U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. Shares of Bluescope Steel rose 3.5%.

In individual stocks, Newcrest Mining fell 4.6% after the company said in an update that its fiscal 2018 guidance would be "adversely" impacted after identifying a breakthrough of tailings material at its Cadia mine.

The Australian dollar last traded at $0.7870 U.S.

Meanwhile, Singapore-listed Noble Group surged 27.1%. The company said in a release that it had not paid the coupon due Mar. 9, 2018, with respect to $750 million notes due on Mar. 9, 2022.

In other markets

The CSI 300 added 18.8 points, or 0.5%, to 4,127.67

In Taiwan, the Taiex climbed 137.28 points, or 1.3%, to 11,002.10

In Korea, the Kospi gained 24.67 points, or 1%, to 2,484.12

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index picked up 54.62 points, or 1.6%, to 3,540.19

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 hiked 73.98 points, or 0.9%, to 8,463.99

The ASX 200 advanced 32.89 points, or 0.6%, to 5,996.12