(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Tuesday as a strengthening dollar sapped demand for emerging market assets and investors kept an eye on Italian politics after the country's two populist parties announced a joint agreement naming Giuseppe Conte, 53, as the next prime minister.
Chinese shares ended on a flat note as gains in healthcare and telecom stocks were offset by declines in real estate firms. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index finished marginally higher at 3,214.35.
Japanese shares fell from 3 1/2-month highs reached the previous day, with financials leading declines as bond yields peaked after hitting a three-year high last week.
The Nikkei average slid 42.03 points or 0.18 percent to 22,960.34 while the broader Topix index closed 0.23 percent lower at 1,809.57. T&D Holdings lost 2.7 percent and MS&AD Insurance shed 2.8 percent.
Sony fell 2 percent after the entertainment giant agreed to buy Mubadala Investment Co.'s stake in EMI Music Publishing for about $2.3 billion.
Takeda Pharmaceutical gained 1 percent after saying it would divest its entire 51.34 percent stake in a Chinese joint venture.
Australian markets ended lower for a fourth straight session, with banking stocks coming under selling pressure as the Royal Commission grilled lenders on small business loans.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 42.60 points or 0.70 percent to 6,041.90 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 40.30 points or 0.65 percent at 6,149.90.
Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac fell between 0.6 percent and 1.6 percent. Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto shed 0.7 percent and half a percent, respectively as iron ore prices extended their fall.
Pharmaceutical major CSL lost about 1 percent on profit taking after two days of gains. Private hospital operator Healthscope tumbled 2.4 percent after rejecting two takeover proposals.
Basic materials company James Hardie Industries soared 4 percent after unveiling its annual results.
On the data front, Australia's consumer confidence improved for the sixth straight time during the week ended May 20, a weekly survey compiled by the ANZ bank and Roy Morgan Research showed.
The corresponding index rose to 121.6 from 120.8 in the preceding week despite elevated petrol prices, some pessimistic commentary on sluggish wage growth and recent developments in the housing market.
New Zealand shares fell slightly as shares of diary firms fell, offsetting gains in the healthcare sector. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended marginally lower at 8,613.32. While a2 Milk Company shares ended down 3 percent, Ryman Healthcare advanced 1.8 percent.
India's Sensex was moving up 0.2 percent after five days of losses.
Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was climbing 0.7 percent while benchmark indexes in Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan were down between 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent.
Overnight, U.S. stocks rose to close at two-month highs as concerns about a possible trade war between the U.S. and China ebbed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 1.2 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added half a percent.
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