Investors were also slightly more upbeat in Asia, where China reported that factory output increased 10.1 percent from a year earlier in November, a sign of recovery in the world's No. 2 economy. The inflation rate rose to 2 percent, slightly below the projected 2.1 percent, the government said Sunday.
"I think China's economy has turned the corner, so that's why the market is going up," said Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.1 percent to close at 9,533.75. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.4 percent to 22,276.72. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.1 percent to 4,557.90. South Korea's Kospi was nearly unchanged at 1,957.42.
The China data followed the release Friday of U.S. government figures showing that employers added 146,000 jobs in November, beating economists' estimates. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent, although that was mainly because more people gave up looking for work.In commodity markets, the benchmark oil contract for January delivery was up 50 cents to $86.43 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 33 cents to finish at $85.93 per barrel on the Nymex on Friday. In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2914 from $1.2926 in New York on Friday. The dollar fell to 82.22 yen from 82.40 yen. ___ Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this article.