The euro bounced back on Tuesday from a day-earlier selloff over euro debt woes following words of support from China, while stocks were firm across Asia as investors picked up end-of-year bargains.

Japan's Nikkei average closed at a seven-month high.

Cold weather in Europe kept crude prices firm for a third straight session, driving energy-related stocks to be the biggest gainers in the MSCI Asia ex-Japan share index. U.S. Treasuries held steady, sticking to narrow price ranges.

Comments from Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan that China supports the measures taken by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to calm global markets in the face of the euro zone's debt crisis prompted a short-covering rally in the euro currency.

We hope the measures can achieve some results as soon as possible, Wang told EU trade and economic officials who were visiting China.

Still, China, which has invested an undisclosed portion of its $2.65 trillion in reserves in the euro, also urged European authorities to back their tough talk on debt with action.

The euro rose to $1.3194 after Wang's comments, rising a full cent from a two-week low hit on Monday, when investors fled from the currency fearing more credit ratings downgrades in Europe.

Euro dropped on Monday as far as $1.3094 and hit a record low against the Australian dollar and the Swiss franc as investors fretted about further credit ratings downgrades in Europe.

The firmer tone of the currency also lifted it away form the record lows it struck on Monday against the Australian dollar and the Swiss franc.

Still, investors suspected the rise in the euro was simply a temporary reprieve for a currency that has dropped more than 6 percent against the dollar since hitting a 10-month high in early November.

I still think the euro faces downside risks, said Koji Fukaya, chief FX strategist at Credit Suisse. The market will probably test the downside toward April, when Spain will have big redemptions of bonds.

Stock investors looked beyond the euro zone risks for now to pick up stock ahead of the end of the year.

Japan's Nikkei share average <.N225> rose 1.5 percent for its highest close since May as investors rooted out bargains following two straight days of declines.

Major electronics maker Sony Corp <6758.T> gained 2.7 percent, construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd <6301.T> climbed 1.5 percent and Mitsubishi Motors Corp <7211.T> added 2.5 percent.

Investors are buying on dips, pushing the Nikkei higher after yesterday's losses, said Takashi Ohba, a senior strategist at Okasan Securities.

The Nikkei was flat last week and traders waited for any positive factors to trade on -- they got a good opportunity today so the market is posting solid gains, Ohba said.

A decision by the Bank of Japan to leave policy unchanged was fully factored into markets.

The MSCI index of stocks elsewhere in Asia <.MIAPJ0000PUS> rose 1 percent on the day to stand more than 12 percent higher this year.

Hong Kong <.HSI> and Shanghai <.SSEC> stocks rose off the back of firmer coal shares on expectations of more demand heading into the winter season.

China Shenhua Energy <1088.HK> firmed close to 5 percent and China's Sinopec <0386.HK> was up 1.4 percent. In Japan, the country's top refiner JX Holdings <5020.T> gained 1.9 percent.

Firmer metals prices pushed miners higher in Australia, to leave the main S&P/ASX 200 index <.AXJO> up 0.8 percent. Seoul shares <.KS11> hit a three-year high as tensions on the peninsula eased as North Korea stepped back from a confrontation over what it called South Korea's reckless military drills.

Snow and freezing temperatures grounded flights and disrupted travel across northern Europe on Monday, pushing oil prices higher in Asia on Tuesday for a third straight session.

NYMEX February crude futures rose 0.4 percent to as high as $89.77 per barrel and heating oil and gas oil also gained.

Gold edged higher to $1,385.90 per ounce. U.S. 10-year bonds fell 2/32 in price in Asia to yield 3.3445 percent, little changed from late New York trade.

(Additional reporting by Asia bureaus)