LONDON LONDON (CNNfn) - Asian markets had a mixed session Monday, although the region's larger exchanges closed in the black. Tokyo ended Monday trading more than 170 points higher.
The Nikkei 225 closed exactly 1 percent up at 17,610.58, a rise of 174.06 points, after suffering an similar reverse at the end of last week.
Most Japanese investors stayed on the sidelines, however, ahead of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee meeting due to start Tuesday. The market is anticipating a quarter of one percentage point rise, but some U.S. analysts warn the increase could be higher.
The expected departure of "Mr. Yen", Eisuke Sakakibara, Japan's most prominent financial official appeared to have little impact on the stock market. The rise in Japanese stocks surprised some market participants, though.
"We were expecting a consolidation after the weekend but the market just doesn't want to come down. Despite thin volume there is an absence of sellers, which is good for sentiment," one senior trader at Nomura Securities told Reuters.
Another Tokyo-based analyst warned, however, that the rally was at odds with the underlying economic fundamentals, which still look weak. "People want to be optimistic, especially dealers who control a lot of stock," Robert Sasaki, head of the quantitative strategy group at Jardine Fleming, told CNNfn.com.
Export-related blue chips were the best performers. Hitachi ended over 2 percent at 1,095 yen, while Nikon Corp. jumped over 2.3 percent at 1,923 yen.
A mixed closed on Wall Street Friday gave investors little direction. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 17.73 points to end the week at 10,552.56, but both the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 ended slightly lower.
Hong Kong blue chips managed to close in the plus column, with some buying impetus among property stocks coming from the anticipation of a strong land auction Tuesday. The Hang Seng index finished up 0.4 percent, or 56 points, at 13,840.29, with activity again tempered by the U.S. interest rates decision later this week.
Henderson Land rose over 2 percent to end at HK$44.70, while Sun Hung Kai Properties was just over 1 percent higher at HK$72.25.
Singapore blue chips headed lower in late trade with the Straits Times index down 0.77 percent at 2,161.76.
In contrast, South Korea's Kospi index rallied strongly after the International Monetary Fund doubled its forecasts for economic growth this year from 2 percent to between 4 and 5 percent. Blue chips surged 2.38 percent to end at 903.05.
The All Ordinaries index in Sydney took its cue from the positive finish on the Dow to end just over 1 percent higher at 2,990.3, lifted by a rally among mining stocks.
Earlier, Philippine blue chips closed just into the minus column, down less than 2 points at 2,462.05, while Taiwan's Weighted index managed a 15 point gain to end at 8,281.45.
Kuala Lumpur's Composite index stood 1.5 percent higher at 818.32 in late trade. But Jakarta's blue chips suffered a heavy reverse, down 0.1 percent at 672.49. Selling pressures also mounted on the Bangkok's Set index, which was down almost 2 percent at 533.18.
-- from staff and wire reports