Japan's yen extended its losses on Tuesday after a spate of mixed data from the world's third largest economy, showing the unemployment rate edging up to 3.3% in February, from January's 3.2%, while retail sales rose only 0.5% y/y, missing expectations of a 1.6% rise.
Household spending on the other hand rose 1.2% y/y, beating expectations of a 1.8% slump, but that didn't help the local currency a lot, which hovered around a two-week low against its American rival at 113.61, down 0.15% on the day, while also inching down 0.10% versus the euro to trade at 127.13, a multi-week low as well.
Japan's Nikkei index gave up 0.20% after the largely disappointing data, trading last at 17,103, while Australian shares, coming from a long holiday, tumbled 1.60%. China's Shanghai index registered a loss of 0.75%, while South Korea's KOSPI index bucked the trend, advancing 0.62% to a week high.
Oil prices remained pressured by rising inventories and production across the world, unmatched by demand, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropping 26 cents, or 0.70% to trade at $39.11 a barrel, while Brent crude futures fell 35 cents, or 0.86% to move around $40.51 a barrel.
Investors wait for a speech by the Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen to gauge whether the Fed is on track to hike interest rates next month, following bullish statements from other Fed official, which would rally the dollar and affect stocks negatively.
Also from the United States, CB consumer confidence is expected to edge up to 93.9 in March, compared to February's three-month low reading of 92.2, which would be mildly positive for the greenback.