Asian markets were mixed early in the Tuesday session in what's likely to be light, holiday-week trading.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index came under slight pressure after closing at a 26-year high in the last session, despite thin holiday trade. The index traded lower by 0.1 percent as most technology and auto names drifted lower. Energy-related companies, however, made gains as oil priced nudged higher.
Most Japanese retailers also edged higher, with shares of department store operator Takashimaya popping 3.93 percent to touch a more than two-year high. Takashimaya on Monday announced a 5.6 percent increase in operating profit for the nine months ending November, Reuters said.
Core consumer prices for November released Tuesday rose for an 11th consecutive month, although higher prices were largely due to higher fuel costs, Reuters said. The core consumer price index increased 0.9 percent in the month, above the median 0.8 percent forecast, according to the news agency.
Meanwhile, minutes for the Bank of Japan's October meeting showed most board members thought it was necessary for the central bank to "persistently pursue powerful monetary easing," but that additional measures were not needed now.
In South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.53 percent in early trade. Blue chips were mixed in the morning, with Samsung Electronics holding 0.08 percent above the flat line, but Hyundai Motor and SK Hynix declining 0.33 percent and 1.04 percent, respectively.
Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand markets remain closed on Tuesday.
Exchanges in much of the world were closed on Monday as well, including Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. US and European markets were also closed, though New York will be back in action on Tuesday.
In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was mostly flat at 93.253 at 8:19 a.m. HK/SIN. The dollar was steady against the yen at 113.26.
Meanwhile, bitcoin was firmer after it lost around a quarter of its value in volatile trade ahead of the Christmas weekend. That was despite news out of Israel that regulators would be looking into prohibiting bitcoin-focused companies from trading on the stock exchange, according to Reuters.
After touching a high of $14,572.98 on Monday, the cryptocurrency traded at $14,103.70 at 8:21 a.m. HK/SIN, according to industry site CoinDesk.Sluggish trading on Monday
Japan and China turned in a mixed performance on Christmas Day, in light trading.
The Nikkei 225 and Topix indexes edged higher on Tuesday — both rising 0.16 percent — while Chinese markets closed lower.
In China, the Shanghai Composite index finished the day down 16.22 points or 0.49 percent at 3,280.84. The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.93 percent at 1883.89.
Taiwanese stocks also finished lower, moving in a narrow range.
China's yuan strengthened on Monday, reaching its highest level in three-and-a-half months against the U.S. dollar. The Japanese yen also edged higher against the dollar.What's on tap:
The economic calendar for Tuesday is fairly crowded, with several markets in the region coming back from the Christmas holiday (all times in HK/SIN):12:00 p.m.: Thailand November new car sales
1:00 p.m.: Singapore November inflation5:00 p.m.: Philippines budget balance