Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday despite U.S. President Donald Trump's positive comments on trade and the release of U.S. data pointing to solid economic growth in the world's largest economy.
Chinese shares fell sharply after a state fund announced plans to cut its stakes in some technology companies. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index ended down 42.19 points, or 1.40 percent, at 2,962.75, marking its steepest decline since Nov. 1. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended 0.13 percent higher at 27,906.41.
Japanese shares gave up early gains to end on a flat note after Trump said that China already started large scale purchases of Ü.S. farm goods and that the talks with the country were productive.
However, Trump didn't give a date for when the so-called "phase one" agreement will actually be signed. The Nikkei average finished marginally higher at 23,821.11, while the broader Topix index closed 0.21 percent lower at 1,729.42.
Nikon, Olympus, Yahoo Japan, Aeon and Daiichi Sankyo climbed 2-3 percent while Nippon Sheet Glass slumped 6.8 percent, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding lost 3.6 percent and JGC tumbled 3.2 percent.
Australian markets declined as weaker iron ore futures pulled down miners and gold stocks snapped a three-day winning streak.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 31.20 points, or 0.46 percent, to 6,785.10 ahead of a two-day break for Christmas starting on Wednesday. The broader All Ordinaries index ended down 29.70 points, or 0.43 percent, at 6,894.70.
Miners BHP, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto declined 1-2 percent after Chinese iron ore futures fell nearly 1 percent on Friday. Gold miner Northern Star Resources, which is facing a lawsuit from its junior partners over a joint venture agreement, shed 0.8 percent. Newcrest mining and Evolution Mining eased 0.7 and 0.3 percent, respectively.
Rare earths developer Arafura Resources rallied 3.5 percent after it signed a preliminary agreement with a U.S. based company for the treatment of a certain variety of its rare earth concentrate.
Private sector credit in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent month on month in November, the Reserve Bank of Australia said in a report today. That was unchanged from the October reading but missed forecasts for an increase of 0.2 percent.
On a yearly basis, credit rose 2.3 percent - also shy of estimates for 2.4 percent and down from 2.5 percent in the previous month.
Seoul stocks ended little changed as tech stocks declined. The benchmark Kospi finished marginally lower above the psychologically significant 2,200-point level reached on Friday. Samsung Electronics gave up 0.9 percent, SK Hynix dropped 0.4 percent and LG Display lost 1.2 percent.
New Zealand shares rose notably to hit a record high. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 64.94 points, or 0.57 percent, to 11,547.23. Shares of Restaurant Brands New Zealand soared 6.5 percent after the company said it would pay US$73 million (NZ$112m) for 70 stores in Southern California.
U.S. stocks hit fresh record closing highs on Friday as encouraging consumer spending and revised GDP data helped put a damper on recession fears and President Trump claimed progress on issues from trade to North Korea and Hong Kong.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 added half a percent.