Bank of Japan
Bank of Japan's tankan quarterly survey reported an improvement in business sentiment to 12 in March Reuters

Majority Asian stock market indices were trading higher on Monday (3 April), the first day of the new quarter. Mixed economic data out of Japan and Australia could be the reason behind this bullish trend.

On Monday, the latest Tankan survey from the Bank of Japan showed an improvement in business sentiment of big manufacturers. The March survey reading for manufacturing sector rose to +12, up from +10 in the December quarter. However, this was lower than the Reuters poll forecast of +14.

Japan's service sector sentiment also increased to +20, marking an improvement for the first time in six quarters. These improved numbers had a positive impact on equities in the country.

"For the manufacturing sector, exports are growing especially to the US, China and Asia, but I guess people are a bit concerned about what's happening in the US," Sayuri Shirai, professor at Keio University was quoted as saying by CNBC.

However, The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday said that the country's retail sales fell 0.1% month-on-month. This had a negative effect on the Australian stock market.

Meanwhile, going forward, investors remain concerned over the outcome of US President Donald Trump's first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which is expected to be held on Thursday and Friday. The concern follows Trump tweeting last week that this meeting would be "a very difficult one".

Indices in the region were trading as follows at 5.36am GMT:

Hong KongHang Seng Index24,175.98Up0.27%
JapanNikkei 22519,019.70Up0.60%
South KoreaKOSPI2,164.94Up0.22%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,862.30Down0.04%

On 31 March, the FTSE 100 closed 0.63% lower at 7,322.92, while the S&P 500 index closed 0.23% lower at 2,362.72.

Among commodities, oil prices declined amid concerns over increasing crude inventories in the US. As of 1.30am EDT, WTI Crude Oil was down 0.10% at $50.55 (£40.28) a barrel, while Brent Crude was trading 0.22% lower at $53.41 a barrel.