Asian shares were mixed on Tuesday, with Hong Kong and Shanghai leading declines, ahead of a decision by the Federal Reserve this week on interest rates.
US futures and oil prices edged higher.
Shares in property developer China Evergrande Group, the world's most heavily indebted real estate company with more than USD 300 billion in liabilities, remained suspended from trading after a Hong Kong court ordered the company to be liquidated because it is insolvent.
But shares in China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group gained 4.8 per cent as they resumed trading. Evergrande Property Services fell 1.3 per cent.
Other property companies led the decline in Hong Kong, where the benchmark Hang Seng index sank 2 per cent to 15,764.13. Country Garden tumbled 5.7 per cent and Sunac China Holdings was down 4.8 per cent.
Technology companies also retreated, with food delivery company Meituan down 2.6 per cent and e-commerce giant Alibaba falling 1.8 per cent.
The Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.6 per cent to 2,865.60.
Chinese regulators have been moving to prop up the markets, among the world's worst performing so far this year amid worries about not only the troubled property industry but also slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy.
“Scepticism persists regarding the equity plunge protection plan,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary. “While measures akin to a band-aid on a broken leg may temporarily boost stock prices, they do little to stabilise earnings or foster growth.”
Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4 per cent to 36,175.98 and the Kospi in South Korea edged 0.1 per cent higher, to 2,503.00. Australia's S and P/ASX 200 picked up 0.2 per cent to 7,591.00.
Bangkok's SET was nearly unchanged.
On Monday, US stocks gained as they kicked off a week where Wall Street's most influential stocks may show whether the huge expectations built up for them are justified.
The S and P 500 gained 0.8 per cent to set another record at 4,927.93. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6 per cent, to 38,333.45, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 1.1 per cent to 15,628.04.
Big Tech stocks, the main reason the S and P 500 has soared more than 35 per cent to a record since two autumns ago, will figure heavily in earnings reports this week. That includes Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta Platforms and Microsoft.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will make its next decision on what to do with interest rates. Traders expect it to stand pat but hope it may cut rates at its next meeting in March.
That would mark the first downward move since the Fed began dramatically raising interest rates two years ago to get inflation under control.
A wave of encouraging data has Wall Street believing its dream scenario can come true: The Fed will successfully conquer high inflation and deliver the cuts to rates that investors crave, while the economy skirts through without falling into a recession that seemed inevitable last year.
On Friday, the US government will release the latest monthly update on the job market. Economists expect it to show continued growth in hiring, but at a cooler pace. That's exactly what the Fed would want to see because too much growth could mean upward pressure on inflation.
Companies so far this reporting season have not been getting as big a boost to their stock price as usual after topping analysts' forecasts.
Archer Daniels Midland jumped 5.6 per cent for the biggest gain in the S and P 500 to recover some of its sharp loss from last week, after it put its chief financial officer on leave and said it's investigating some of its accounting practices.
In a message to employees on Friday, ADM CEO Juan Luciano said that “these sales do not materially affect our overall results”.
On the losing side of Wall Street, iRobot fell 8.8 per cent after agreeing to call off its purchase by Amazon following scrutiny from antitrust regulators.
In other trading Tuesday, US benchmark crude oil was up 26 cents at USD 77.04 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped USD 1.23 to settle at USD 76.78 a barrel on Monday.
A barrel of Brent crude, the international standard, gained 25 cents to USD 82.08 per barrel.
The US dollar fell to 147.35 yen from 147.50 yen. The euro slipped to USD 1.0833 from USD 1.0835.