Most Asian stock markets ended with gains Monday as a higher-than-expected reading of China’s official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) boosted sentiment.

The official data showed that manufacturing activity in China gained momentum in March, helped by a recovery in the auto, tobacco and electronics sectors. The manufacturing PMI showed a rise of 53.1 from the previous reading of 51.0, while economists expected a reading of 50.05.

The Chinese reading was much better than most were expecting and that optimism has flown into risky assets now. If China is still in a big growth stage then Australian commodities will be in demand, IG markets strategist Stan Shamutold Reuters. 

Japanese shares advanced for the first time in four trading sessions, led by gains from exporter companies on back of weaker yen. The Japanese benchmark Nikkei advanced 0.26 percent or 26.31 points to 10,109.87.

Among the stocks, Nissan Motor Co rose 1.93 percent and Panasonic Corp advanced 0.92 percent, while Canon Inc and Honda Motor gained more than 2 percent.

Seoul shares ended with gains Monday as financials rallied after South Korea’s credit rating outlook was raised by Moody’s Investors Service to positive from stable. Benchmark Seoul Composite advanced 0.76 percent or 15.25 points to 2,029.29.

Among stocks, Hana Financial Group climbed 5 percent and Woori Finance Holdings surged 3.85 percent, while Hyundai Steel rose 2.45 percent and Samsung Heavy Industries advanced 1.32 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng decliend 0.44 percent or 89.64 points to 20,465.94 as further weakness in Sun Hung Kai Properties weighed. Sun Hung Kai Properties declined more than 15 percent so far after the company's two chairmen were arrested by the territory's anti-corruption commission last week.