Stocks rallied after officials announced a preliminary agreement Friday following the latest round of trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. Some of that enthusiasm already had faded by Monday morning.
But Japan's Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.9% to 22,207.21 as Tokyo reopened from a public holiday and investors caught up on the news. But optimism over the agreement appeared to be fading and markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell back.
The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6% to 2,991.05 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong edged 0.1% lower to 26,503.93. South Korea's Kospi gained less than 0.1% to 2,068.17 and the S&P ASX 200 added 0.1% to 6,652.00.
Shares rose in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia but fell in Singapore. Wall Street ended Monday with modest losses, as selling of consumer goods makers, utilities and technology stocks helped outweigh gains in banks and real estate companies. A 2% drop in crude oil prices hurt energy stocks.
The truce between Washington and Beijing calls for the U.S. to suspend a planned hike in tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods that had been set to kick in Tuesday. Beijing, meanwhile, agreed to buy $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. farm products.
"That said, the abovementioned items are no doubt the lower hanging fruits in attempting a deal between the two sides. Few are likely ruling out the possibility that there could be more twists and turns in this matter of U.S.-China trade conflict," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.
The U.S. did not, however, cancel plans for more tariffs in December and the sticking points of intellectual property and trade secrets still hang over the dispute. And the overall picture hasn't changed for companies, which are still holding off on forecasts and investments because of the uncertain trade situation.
Monday's modest pullback followed last week's market rally, when the S&P 500 and the Dow had their first gains in four weeks. In other trading, benchmark crude oil fell 27 cents to $53.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost $1.11 to settle at $53.59 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost 30 cents to $59.05 per barrel. It dropped $1.16 to close at $59.35 a barrel in London.
The dollar fell to 108.38 Japanese yen from 108.40 yen on Monday. The euro was flat at $1.1027.