'Riding omicron hopes'
Global stocks had sunk Friday on weak US payrolls data, heightened Covid-19 fears and unease over shifting Federal Reserve policy.
Asia faced a mixed performance on Monday, but was also roiled by struggling Chinese tech firms.
"Markets remain beset by uncertainty as the spread of the omicron variant threatens to derail the general economic recovery," said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.
The omicron variant has been detected across the globe but no deaths have yet been reported, with authorities worldwide racing to determine how contagious it is and how effective existing vaccines are.
Top US pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci said Sunday that while more information was needed, preliminary data on the severity of the omicron variant is "a bit encouraging."
Hong Kong stocks slid Monday as last week's news that Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing would start the process of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange sent shares in tech firms tumbling.
The move comes in the wake of a sweeping Chinese regulatory crackdown over the past year that has clipped the wings of major internet firms wielding huge influence on consumers' lives -- including Alibaba and Tencent.
Shares on the Hang Seng Tech index, which represents the 30 largest tech companies in the southern Chinese city, slumped sharply on Monday.
Piling on the woes in Hong Kong was continued uncertainty over the future of the Chinese property market, after developer Evergrande warned that in light of its current liquidity situation, there was "no guarantee that the group will have sufficient funds to continue to perform its financial obligations."
The property giant's shares sunk by up to 20 percent Monday on the news, Bloomberg reported.