Asia's markets were mixed Tuesday after a gauge of Chinese manufacturing beat expectations to show a pick-up in September, providing some respite for dealers concerned about the economic giant.
The dollar retreated following a recent rally, while on Wall Street the Dow edged down after clocking another record at the end of last week.
Shanghai jumped 0.87 percent, or 19.85 points, to 2,309.72 and Sydney closed up 0.98 percent, or 52.7 points, at 5,415.7 while in late trade Hong Kong was flat.
However, Seoul fell 0.51 percent, or 10.36 points, to 2,028.91.
Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.
HSBC said a preliminary reading for its purchasing managers' index (PMI) of manufacturing activity for this month came in at 50.5, up from 50.2 in August. Anything above 50 indicates growth and anything below means a contraction.
The figures surprised analysts, who had been bracing for a sub-50 reading following a weak batch of output and trade data recently. Adding to the upbeat news, HSBC also said key sub-indexes on orders were also strong.
"Economic activity in the manufacturing sector showed signs of stabilisation in September," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement.
"Overall the data still point to modest expansion. The property downturn remains the biggest downside risk to growth," Qu said.
Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told AFP: "What we are seeing with the Chinese PMI numbers is a strong rebound when analysts had actually priced in a possible contraction.
"The numbers released today bring about some sense of optimism as new orders and new exports in China saw marked improvement."
The report came as a relief to markets, which had been broadly lower in early trade following losses on Wall Street Monday.
- Dollar rally hits bump -
The Dow retreated 0.62 percent from Friday's record high, on profit-taking as data showed an unexpected fall in US existing home sales in August, after four straight months of gains. The news dampened the outlook for a Fed rate rise.
The S&P 500 fell 0.80 percent and the Nasdaq tumbled 1.14 percent.
In foreign exchange trade the dollar eased to 108.64 yen from 108.94 yen in New York.
The greenback last week hit highs above 109 yen not seen since August 2008 after the Federal Reserve hinted that interest rates could rise further than expected when they are eventually increased, probably in mid-2015.
However, while the currency is seeing mild selling, economists predict it will breach 110 yen soon.
The euro bought $1.2856 and 139.66 yen against $1.2850 and 139.78 yen.
The single currency is facing pressure after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said it is ready to pump more liquidity into the financial system but needed time to achieve the full effect.
While Draghi noted that the eurozone economy was hobbling, he said the central bank would keep its easy monetary policy in place for some time to come.
On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery rose 40 cents to $91.27 while Brent crude for November gained 30 cents to $97.27 in afternoon trade.
Gold was at $1,216.52 an ounce against $1,213.14 an ounce late Monday.
In other markets:
-- Taipei shed 0.54 percent, or 49.75 points, to end at 9,084.90.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co closed 0.41 percent higher at Tw$122.5, while leading chip design house MediaTek shed 4.25 percent to Tw$473.0.
-- Wellington rose 0.10 percent, or 5.15 points, to 5,241.44.
Contact Energy was up 1.03 percent at NZ$5.91 and Spark added 0.50 percent to NZ$3.03.