Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday following data showing that Chinese manufacturing activity shrank further in July, adding to mounting concerns about the world's second biggest economy.
Profit-takers also weighed on bourses following the previous day's regional rally, although the Dow provided another record-breaking lead.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 47.23 points to 14,731.28, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was down 0.23 percent, or 2.80 points, at 1,219.92 in low-volume trading.
Investors were watching the mid-morning release of the preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which came in at 47.7 in July vs 48.2 in June, an 11-month low, suggesting a continuous slowdown in the huge economy.
"The PMI data didn't add a great deal of pessimism to the already negative market, but it may very well act as a weight," an equity trading director at a foreign brokerage told Dow Jones Newswires.
He noted that trading volumes were light.
"With several players out for the summer holiday and others waiting for confirmation of earnings results, overall activity is simply not very robust."
Japan reported it had logged a $1.82 billion trade deficit last month, reversing a small year-earlier surplus.
Kao, the parent of cosmetics firm Kanebo, fell 6.24 percent to 3,230 yen as the subsidiary said more than 2,000 Japanese had complained about skin discolouring after using its whitening products while it had also widened a consumer recall outside Japan.
China-related shares fell, with Fanuc off 0.32 percent at 15,130 and Komatsu down 0.45 percent at 2,386.
The Shanghai index was down 0.52 percent, or 10.55 points, at 2,033.33. Hong Kong added 0.24 percent, or 53.51 points, to 21,968.93.
But Sydney rose 0.36 percent, or 18.0 points, to 5,035.1 and Seoul finished 0.42 percent higher, adding 7.93 points to 1,912.08.
"The lower reading of the July HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI suggests a continuous slowdown in manufacturing sectors thanks to weaker new orders and faster destocking," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement.
The result is the latest in a series of data suggesting previous double-digit growth rates in China are a thing of the past as Beijing looks to shift its growth engine from exports to domestic consumption.
Shanghai at one point tumbled more than one percent but it pared those losses towards the end of the day.
The market had climbed almost two percent on Tuesday after a report that Premier Li Keqiang had said economic growth should not be allowed to fall below seven percent. The comments suggested the government would be willing to step in with support should the economy look to be in trouble.
HSBC's Qu added: "As Beijing has recently stressed to secure the minimum level of growth required to ensure stable employment, the flash PMI reinforces the need to introduce additional fine-tuning measures to stabilise growth."
In Asian forex trading the dollar bought 100.00 yen compared with 99.48 yen in New York late Tuesday, while the euro fetched $1.3237 and 132.39 yen, against $1.3222 and 131.53 yen.
In oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, was up 17 cents at $107.40 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for September delivery shed 22 cents to $108.20.
Gold cost $1,340.09 per ounce at 0800 GMT, compared with $1,328.50 late Tuesday.
In other markets:
-- Wellington rose 0.51 percent, or 18.61 points, to 4,599.20.
Telecom was up 0.86 percent at NZ$2.35 and Contact Energy rose 0.55 percent to NZ$5.50.
-- Manila rose 0.90 percent, or 60.95 points, to 6,804.16.
-- Taipei fell 0.22 percent, or 18.46 points, to 8,196.19.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. put on 2.0 percent to Tw$102.0, while smartphone maker HTC fell 2.85 percent to Tw$170.5.