Hopes that central banks in China, the U.S. and Europe are gearing up for more stimulus measures to help their respective economies are keeping markets buoyant.
Expectations of action by the People's Bank of China were compounded Tuesday when the National Energy Administration said electricity consumption growth slowed in July, a sign of slowing industrial output.
"Investors are expecting some kind of action like an adjustment of interest rates or reserve ratio requirements after figures showed electricity consumption grew only 4.5 percent from a year earlier," said Peng Yunliang, a Shanghai-based analyst.
European stocks were higher in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 5,862.37. Germany's DAX added 0.8 percent to 6,963.42 and France's CAC-40 added 0.4 percent to 3,440.43.
Wall Street also appeared poised to open higher. Dow Jones industrial futures rose 0.2 percent to 13,161 while S&P 500 futures added 0.2 percent to 1,405.80.
Traders were also waiting for the release of retail sales data from the U.S. for a clearer reading of the health of the world's biggest economy. Other U.S. economic data this week includes July industrial production figures.
Tom Kaan of Louis Capital Markets in Hong Kong said investors were holding back from big moves as the summer season winds down and eurozone leaders return from vacation to resume deliberating the region's debt crisis.
"I think if you look around globally, even on Wall Street, the volumes are pretty dismal," Kaan said.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to close at 8,929.88, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.1 percent to 20,291.68. South Korea's Kospi rose 1.3 percent to 1,956.96, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 4,292.20.
On mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to 2,142.53. The smaller Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.7 percent to 893.80.
Meanwhile, Greece said Monday that the country's deep recession had eased slightly, although the economy still contracted 6.2 percent in the second quarter from the same period last year. In the first quarter, the contraction was 6.5 percent.
Stan Shamu of IG Markets in Melbourne, Australia, said in an email commentary that "the pace of Greece's economic meltdown was not quite as steep as the few economists who try to forecast the data expected."
Greece is being kept solvent by international bailout loans, granted in return for a harsh austerity program.
Benchmark oil for September delivery rose 55 cents to $93.28 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 14 cents to finish at $92.73 per barrel in New York on Monday.
In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.2369 from $1.2336 late Monday in New York. The dollar rose to 78.52 yen from 78.43 yen.
AP researcher Fu Ting contributed from Shanghai.