CANBERA (dpa-AFX) - Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as the dollar continued to slide on expectations of slower Fed rate hikes this year and oil prices rose in Asian deals on speculation that OPEC members are likely to extend output cuts beyond June.
Oil prices steadied in Asian deals after falling over 1.2 percent on Monday in response to continuing increases in U.S. drilling.
Chinese stocks edged higher despite signs of tighter liquidity in the banking system. The benchmark Shanghai Composite rose 10.80 points or 0.33 percent to 3,261.61, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 91.13 points or 0.37 percent to finish at 24,593.12.
Japanese shares ended slightly lower as traders returned to their desks after a long holiday weakened.
The Nikkei average dropped 65.71 points or 0.34 percent to end at 19,455.88, a 1-1/2-week low, as the dollar briefly slumped to a three-week low in the lower 112 yen range and SoftBank shares fell on reports that it has invested $300 million in shared-office space giant WeWork Cos. The broader Topix index closed 0.16 percent lower at 1,563.42.
Index heavyweight SoftBank lost 1.9 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui dropped 1-2 percent after U.S. yields fell in the wake of comments from a Federal Reserve official that the pace of interest rate hikes in 2017 would be slow than what investors had feared earlier.
Toshiba rallied 3.2 percent after reports that Westinghouse Electric is seeking U.S. bankruptcy financing.
Australian shares closed marginally lower, dragged down by miners as Chinese steel and iron ore futures tumbled 3 percent on profit taking after recent sharp gains.
Investor sentiment was also dampened after minutes of the RBA board's March meeting noted a build-up of risks associated with the housing market on the back of a urge in investment borrowing and rapid price gains in Sydney and Melbourne.
House prices in Australia rose 4.1 percent in the December quarter, with the growth again led by Sydney and Melbourne, official data released today showed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 slipped 4.30 points to close at 5,774.60. The broader All ordinaries index ended little changed at 5,819.50. While banks turned in a mixed performance, miners BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto and South32 lost 1-2 percent.
Spotless Group shares soared 49 percent after the cleaning and catering company urged its shareholders to take no action on infrastructure and mining services company Downer EDI's A$1.26 billion takeover bid.
Harvey Norman rallied 3.2 percent after the company rejected media reports that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is reviewing how the retailer reports its exposure to losses made by its franchisees.
South Korea's Kospi average jumped 21.37 points or 0.99 percent to close at 2,178.38 after ousted President Park Geun-hye apologized to the country in her first comments directly to the public since she was dismissed on March 10.
New Zealand shares rose as Fletcher Building shares recovered some lost ground and Kathmandu Holdings posted strong interim results. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 28.49 or 0.40 percent to finish at 7,085.54.
Fletcher rose nearly 1 percent after plunging more than 10 percent the previous day. Kathmandu Holdings advanced 1.6 percent after the outdoor equipment chain beat its first-half profit guidance.
Elsewhere, Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was moving up 0.3 percent and the Taiwan Weighted advanced 0.6 percent while Indonesian shares were trading flat, Singapore's Straits Times index was down 0.2 percent and India's Sensex was declining 0.3 percent.
Overnight, U.S. stocks ended a range-bound session marginally lower amid little economic or corporate news. The Nasdaq Composite inched up marginally while the Dow slipped 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.2 percent.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX