A muddled view of US-China trade talks once again seems to be weighing on investors.
The major Asian market indexes were mixed in early trading Tuesday after CNBC reported that the mood in Beijing was pessimistic. The news organization, citing an anonymous government source, reported that President Donald Trump's reluctance to roll back tariffs was dampening China's outlook on trade talks.
Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 0.3%, while South Korea's Kospi Index fell 0.5%. China's Shanghai Composite slumped 0.2%, but recovered those losses and was last trading up 0.4%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index started in the red, but was last trading up about 1%. Hong Kong stocks have been trying to claw back some losses after last week, when the index recorded its worst stretch since early August amid worsening protests in the city.
"With no significant data releases in Asia today, attention in the region will remain focused on trade concerns and Hong Kong," said Jeffrey Halley, a market analyst with the research firm Oanda, in a note. "Neither is likely to inspire the confidence of market participants."
US stock futures were last trading slightly positive during Asian trading hours after recording small losses earlier.
A breakthrough in the US-China trade deal has remained just out of reach for quite some time. Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have been expected to sign a partial trade deal for about a month, but those negotiations hit another snag last week.
The US government on Monday did extend a temporary general license allowing American companies to sell to Huawei, the embattled Chinese tech company that has become a symbol of tensions between the two countries. It's the third 90-day extension of the license, which is now set to expire in February.