HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed Tuesday following another heavy sell-off on Wall Street, with Tokyo taking a thumping as traders returned from a long weekend to a much stronger yen.
With confidence in the state of the global economy knocked by a series of weak data, oil prices are struggling at multi-year lows with traders worried about a possible supply glut.
Tokyo tumbled 2.38 percent, or 364.04 points, to a two-month low of 14,936.51, with exporters hit by the yen's advance. Shanghai lost 0.28 percent, or 6.53 points, to end at 2,359.48.
But Seoul ended 0.11 percent higher, adding 2.04 points to 1,929.25, and Sydney rallied 1.01 percent, or 51.9 points, to close at 5,207.4.
Hong Kong was flat in the afternoon.
Global markets have been struggling of late as a string of weak data from Japan, China and the eurozone has fanned fears about the global economy, while the Federal Reserve also said it was concerned about the outlook.
And on Wall Street Monday the three main indexes were hard hit as investors fled.
The Dow sank 1.35 percent and the S&P 500 shed 1.65 percent -- just weeks after the two had touched record highs. The Nasdaq lost 1.46 percent.
But Tuesday saw investors tentatively return to buying in Asia, picking up cheaper stocks.
The dollar also picked up slightly after tumbling below 107 yen in New York on Monday.
The greenback bought 107.17 yen Tuesday, up from 106.83 yen in New York Monday afternoon. However, that was not enough to support the Nikkei as it is still sharply down from 107.79 yen in Tokyo on Friday, before a three-day weekend there.
"Most of the Nikkei's gains over the last several weeks have come on the back of the dollar's rapid rise without much fundamental buying support behind it, so a dramatic reversal such as this is possible, if not likely, when the dollar falls back to earth," Toshihiko Matsuno, senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
The euro bought $1.2710 and 136.20 yen against $1.2753 and 136.25 yen.
Analysts said Hong Kong shares got some support from hopes of an end to a more than two-week stand-off between the government and pro-democracy protesters that has shut down parts of the city.
Police moved in for a second day Tuesday to clear barricades, opening up one of the main thoroughfares for the first time this month. However, demonstrators have refused to lift their blockade until the city's Chief Executive CY Leung steps down and they are granted full universal suffrage by China.
World oil prices extended their losses after the OPEC cartel signalled that producers have no intention of cutting output, even with a supply glut.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery was down 65 cents at a two-year-low $85.09 in afternoon trade and Brent crude retreated 71 cents to $88.18, its lowest since mid-2010.
Both contracts are down by about a fifth from their 2014 highs touched in June.
Gold was at $1,233.10 an ounce against $1,227.19 late Monday.
In other markets:
-- Taipei rose 0.65 percent, or 57.0 points, to 8,768.39.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co added 0.41 percent to Tw$121.0 while Hon Hai Precision Industry was 0.21 percent higher at Tw$96.0.
-- Wellington fell 0.47 percent, or 24.16 points, to 5,145.89.
Chorus was down 1.32 percent at NZ$1.875 and Air New Zealand ended 2.99 percent off at NZ$1.785.