Asian markets were mixed on Tuesday in the first full session after the Easter break, while Japanese shares sank for a second straight day as the yen extended its recent gains.
The greenback came under renewed selling pressure after a weak set of US manufacturing data raised concerns about the economy, while the euro remains under pressure owing to political deadlock in Italy.
Tokyo fell 1.08 per cent, or 131.59 points, to 12,003.43 - a day after tumbling more than two per cent - while Sydney ended 0.38 per cent higher, adding 19.0 points to 4,985.5. Seoul lost 0.49 per cent, or 9.84 points, to 1,986.15.
Hong Kong rose 0.31 per cent, or 68.19 points, to 22,367.82 but Shanghai ended down 0.30 per cent, or 6.66 points, at 2,227.74 - its lowest finish since December 27.
Regional markets staged a slight rebound after suffering a sell-off over the past few weeks on the back of the bailout saga in Cyprus, which raised fears the eurozone crisis could flare up again, while Italy struggles to form a government more than a month after an election.
An improvement in manufacturing activity across Asia, including China, provided a little support, but news of a slowdown in the United States weighed on sentiment.
The US Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing sector activity index came in at 51.3 in March, below the 54.0 expected by analysts.
While anything above 50 indicates growth, the slowdown has raised fears over the strength of recovery in the world's number one economy.
On Wall Street, the Dow dipped 0.04 per cent and the S&P 500 gave up 0.45 per cent, in the first trading session since the two indexes closed at record highs on Thursday. The Nasdaq sank 0.87 per cent.
In New York forex trade on Monday, the dollar slipped to 93.27 yen from 94.20 yen at the end of last week, while the euro also edged up to US$1.2847 from US$1.2818.
On Tuesday in Europe, the greenback was quoted at 93.10 yen, while the euro sat at US$1.2832.
The single currency was at 119.44 yen on Tuesday, from 119.82 yen on Monday.
The recent pick-up in the yen has hit Tokyo shares, which enjoyed a near 20 per cent rise over the first three months of 2013.
Investors have decided to shift back into the yen after selling it for several months on expectations the Bank of Japan's new governor will introduce a more aggressive monetary easing policy.
Haruhiko Kuroda will lead his first policy meeting this week but analysts say markets have already priced in big spending measures and anything he announces will likely fall short of most expectations.
However, Atsushi Hirano, head of FX sales in Japan at the Royal Bank of Scotland, told Dow Jones Newswires: "There aren't any big reasons for this selling. I doubt the sell-off will continue for long."
Oil prices rose, with New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for delivery in May, up two cents to US$97.09 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for May adding 25 cents to US$111.33.
Gold was at US$1,597.83 an ounce at 1045 GMT compared with US$1,597.90 late on Monday.
In other markets, Taipei rose 0.18 per cent, or 13.94 points, to 7,913.18; Manila closed 1.33 per cent lower, shedding 91.16 points to 6,748.43; Wellington fell 0.26 per cent, or 11.34 points, to 4,411.41; Jakarta climbed 0.40 per cent, or 19.68 points, to 4,957.25; Kuala Lumpur added 1.04 per cent, or 17.39 points, to close at 1,685.00; Bangkok ended flat, edging up 0.99 points to 1,550.54; and Mumbai rose 0.93 per cent, or 176.2 points, to 19,040.95.