Shanghai and Hong Kong equities markets retreated in early trade Thursday after a recent rally, while the dollar suffered selling pressure in reaction to another round of disappointing US data that will likely push back any interest rate hike.
The losses came despite a positive lead from Wall Street, where the weak figures were offset by a pick-up in oil prices, an upbeat Federal Reserve economic report and hopes for lower rates for a little longer.
Hong Kong lost 0.42 percent and Shanghai shed 1.25 percent, while Tokyo fell 0.35 percent with exporters hurt by the yen's rise against the dollar.
Sydney gained 0.83 percent and Seoul was up 0.42 percent.
Profit-takers moved in on Hong Kong's bourse after soaring over the past week with record turnover as mainland investors look for cheap assets in the city after a year-long rally in Shanghai that almost doubled its value.
Chinese investors have been flooding into stocks -- using a link-up between Hong Kong and Shanghai's exchanges -- on expectations China will ramp up its stimulus programme to support the struggling economy, which in January-March grew at its slowest quarterly pace in six years.
On foreign exchange markets the dollar slipped to 118.96 yen from 119.14 yen in New York after the soft US figures.
US industrial production fell 0.6 percent in March, according to the Fed, twice the decline projected by analysts. Also, the New York Fed said its Empire State index on manufacturing activity plunged into negative territory in April for the first time since December.
The data came on the heels of a disappointing US retail sales report that had dented the dollar on Tuesday.
The dollar has fallen back in the past few days as the soft US figures narrow the chances the Fed will hike interest rates soon. Expectations earlier in the year had been for a rise as early as June as the economy showed signs of strength.
But Sharon Zollner, a senior economist in Auckland at ANZ Bank New Zealand, wrote in a client note: "A June start to interest-rate normalisation is looking ever more unlikely."
However, there was some good news in Fed's Beige Book report on the state of the economy, which said it continues to grow and the labour market is improving.
On Wall Street the Dow rose 0.42 percent, the S&P 500 added 0.51 percent and the Nasdaq climbed 0.68 percent.
The euro bought $1.0719 and 127.51 yen against $1.0684 and 127.29 yen in US trade.
The European Central Bank voted to keep interest rates at their current all-time lows, as expected, and rejected speculation of an early end to its ultra-easy money policy. ECB chief Mario Draghi said the bank's monetary stimulus policy was working.
Oil prices eased. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 38 cents to $56.01 and Brent eased 63 cents to $62.69.
Gold fetched $1,207.58 against $1,191.19 late Wednesday.