Asian stock markets are advancing on Monday despite the mixed cues from Wall Street Friday. Easing of geopolitical tensions after last week's historic summit between the leaders of South and North Korea as well as upbeat corporate earnings results boosted investor sentiment. The markets in Japan and China are closed on Monday for public holidays.
The Australian market is rising despite the mixed cues from Wall Street Friday, though trading volumes remained low as investors were cautious ahead of an event-packed week. Banks and gold miners are among the major gainers.
In late-morning trades, the S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 15.80 points or 0.27 percent to 5,969.40, just off a high of 5,970.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 15.30 points or 0.25 percent to 6,058.20.
The major banks are higher. Westpac is adding more than 1 percent, National Australia Bank is advancing almost 1 percent, Commonwealth Bank is rising 0.2 percent and ANZ Banking is edging up less than 0.1 percent.
AMP chair Catherine Brenner has quit with immediate effect, following CEO Craig Meller's path, after the wealth management company admitted to charging clients for advice they never received and then lying to the corporate watchdog about it. However, shares of AMP are adding almost 1 percent.
Gold miners are also advancing after gold prices edged higher Friday. Evolution Mining is adding 0.3 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the major miners are mostly lower. BHP Billiton is declining almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is down 0.2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is adding 0.2 percent.
Oil stocks are mixed after crude oil prices edged lower. Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.2 percent, while Oil Search is unchanged and Santos is down 0.7 percent.
Alinta Energy has made an offer to buy AGL Energy's Liddell power station in the NSW Hunter Valley. AGL Energy's shares are adding 0.4 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local unit was trading at US$0.7579 up from US$0.7547 on Friday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore and Hong Kong are adding more than 1 percent each. South Korea, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are also higher.
On Wall Street, stocks closed flat on Friday in choppy trading as traders digested a mixed batch of earnings news from several big-name companies. Uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates may also have kept traders on the sidelines following the release of a Commerce Department reporting showing stronger than expected economic growth in the first quarter.
While the Dow edged down 11.15 points or 0.1 percent to 24,311.19, the Nasdaq crept up 1.12 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 7,119.80 and the S&P 500 inched up 2.97 points or 0.1 percent to 2,669.91.
The major European markets moved to the upside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 1.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Crude oil futures inched lower Friday amid signs the U.S. shale boom will continue unabated. WTI crude for June delivery slipped $0.09 to $68.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.