Shanghai stocks fell to a one-week low on Tuesday amid fears that the People's Bank of China would not provide monetary stimulus to support the economy while Asia's other equity markets were mixed ahead of Australia's budget release.
South Korea's Kospi was the region's outperformer, rallying as much as 1 percent as dollar-yen fell from Monday's four-and-a-half-year high.
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Fears about the health of the domestic economy plagued mainland investors and raised doubts about the possibility of monetary support from China's central bank.
Property shares were amid the worst-performing sectors, with Poly Real Estate down 3 percent and China Vanke losing 2.6 percent after the 21st Century Business Herald reported that Beijing tightened rules for the pre-sale of homes.
Financials also suffered, with CITIC Securities and China Minsheng Banking down 2 percent each.
Nisshin Steel Holdings dragged on the index with a 7.6 percent slide while power stocks were amid the benchmark index's top gainers. Tokyo Electric Powersurged 18 percent after Nomura upgraded its ratings on several power stocks, including Kansai Electric Power which rose 12.7 percent.
Consumer electronic stocks were also in focus with Pioneer shares surging 33 percent on news that the firm will form a strategic alliance with Mitsubishi Electric and NTT DoCoMo.
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Mining contractor Mcmahon Holdings jumped 25 percent after the firm delivered a bullish earnings guidance, stating that the sale of its construction business to Leighton Holdings had removed uncertainty and risk from its balance sheet.
Gold miners reversed the previous day's losses as the yellow metal snapped a three-day losing streak. Medusa Mining rose 4 percent.
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Investors awaited Treasurer Wayne Swan's budget, which will be unveiled later on Tuesday. The budget may provide a sense of how much the economy is struggling, analysts say.
The 14-day relative strength index (RSI) for the benchmark Kospi is at 54, indicating that the index is in an upward trend. The index has now recovered 1.6 percent from a two-week low at 1,935 points in the previous session.
— By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter