Major Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday on the  European Union's deal to pursue stricter budget rules, but investors remained cautious and concerned about whether Europe is taking sufficient steps to resolve its debt crisis.      

The benchmark Nikkei gained 1.4 percent to 8,653.82, just below its 75-day average near 8,660, seen as a key
resistance level. Further resistance looms at the bottom of the Ichimoku cloud at 8,747.70.    

The broader Topix index added 1.2 percent to 746.69.    
            
CHINA, U.S.

One big question now is how the European debt crisis will affect the Chinese economy. It is worrying that Chinese shares are still falling despite China's monetary easing, said Kiyoshi Noda, chief fund manager at MU Investments.   

Shanghai shares slipped to a 2-1/2 year low on Monday.

Indonesia gained 0.9 percent, Singapore edged up 0.3 percent and Malaysia rose 0.5 percent.    

But the Philippines and Vietnam closed down 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively. Thailand was closed on Monday for a holiday.

Monday's regional trading showed that while most stocks gained, the mood remains fairly cautious because of sentiment and concern about Europe, said Song Seng Wun, a Singapore-based regional economist at CIMB-GK Research.   

He noted that the euro zone is still facing potential downgrades, which is one factor undercutting optimism generated by Friday's Europe summit.    

Other analysts said most fund mangers were in a holiday mood ahead of Christmas celebrations and strong interest in stocks was lacking ahead of closure of books for the year.    

Despite gains, Indonesia and Malaysia on Monday saw net foreign outflow of $20.6 million and $10.6 million respectively. Manila had a net inflow of $4.7 million.     

Trading volumes were thin in Singapore, Malaysia, and Philippines compared to their respective 30-day average volume, but Indonesia's volume was 1.34 times its 30-day average.    

The EU agreeing to a fiscal compact on Friday just didn't do much for local market, said John Teja, director of broker Ciptadana Securities in Jakarta. I think after riding on the wave of Europe sentiment, a healthy correction is likely in coming days.    

Anticipation that Indonesia will pass a land acquisition law this month prompted gains for toll road operators Jasa Marga (Persero)  m up 1.3 percent, and Citra Marga Nusaphala Persada , which rose 3.3 percent.    

Construction firms Wijaya Karya Persero  and Pembangunan Perumahan (Persero) also jumped more than 24 percent on the expected land acquisition law.    

Shares of Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) closed 2.6 percent firmer. Stocks which offer attractive yields and stable cash flows still appeal to investors dubious about Europe's progress, traders said.      

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.27 .7 percent by 0945 GMT.    
          
(Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sao and Singapore bureau.)