Most Asian markets gained in the morning as speculation on a stimulus pledge from Bank of Japan's new governor Haruhiko Kuroda and improved China manufacturing figures boosted investor confidence.

Japan's Nikkei traded 1.3 percent or 157.73 points higher to 12626.0 while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.2 percent or 3.22 points to 1962.6. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 eased 0.2 percent or 9.40 points to 4957.9.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent or 97.48 points to 22353.9, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 percent or 6.60 points to 2324.0 in mainland China.

The stage was set for a strong performance in the region after Wall Street closed with gains on the Federal Reserve's assurances that it will continue its economy boosting measures, helping to offset the recent Cyprus concerns. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the central bank will limit the bond purchase plan only after significant improvement in the labour market.

Japan's central bank has returned to focus ahead of the first press conference from its newly appointed governor, scheduled for later today. Media reports have already suggested that Kuroda is looking to announce a shift in policy that could accelerate efforts to reach the 2 percent inflation target soon. The proposals could include purchase of longer-dated JGBs and bringing forward the open-ended asset buying scheme.

Meanwhile official data released early in the day showed that Japan's exports dropped 2.9 percent year-on-year in February while imports gained 11.9 percent, pushing the trade deficit to a record high of 777.5bn yen.

Recovery optimism in China received another boost after HSBC's preliminary Purchasing Managers Index showed that manufacturing in the country is picking up at a quicker rate in March. The index gained to 51.7 during the month, from a final February reading of 50.4.

"March flash manufacturing PMI rebounded to 51.7 on the back of stronger new orders and production growth," said Hongbin Qu, chief economist, China & Co-Head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC

"This implies that the Chinese economy is still on track for gradual growth recovery. Inflation remains well behaved, leaving room for Beijing to keep policy relatively accommodative in a bid to sustain growth recovery."

Major Movers

The property sector traded higher in Hong Kong. China Resources Land gained 1.9 percent while Wharf Holdings added 1.7 percent. Henderson Land Development Company was up 1.02 percent.

Some of the major Japanese exporters traded higher. Sony Corp was up 4.03 percent while Fanuc Corp added 5.8 percent. Fuji Film Holdings Corp was up 3.5 percent.

Banks traded higher in mainland China. China Citic Bank Corp was up 3.9 percent while China Merchants Bank added 0.3 percent.