Asian markets were slightly higher on Tuesday driven by a rebound in the U.S., but financials remained fragile after American International Group, which disclosed potential losses in its derivatives portfolio, raised fears it would become the latest casualty of the credit crisis.
Non-life insurer Millea Holdings fell 5.7 percent while Mizuho Financial lost 1.3 percent at the close. Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance tumbled 6.4 percent and Sompo Japan Insurance shed 5.4 percent.
Still, the Nikkei 225 Average managed to end just 4 points higher at 13,021 points.
Yahoo Japan shares rose after Yahoo Inc rejected Microsoft's takeover bid, saying it was too low, raising the possibility of a higher offer.
Seoul stocks rose, gaining moderately from the prior session's sharp losses as battered shipbuilders advanced on bargain-hunting and tech titles tracked gains on Wall Street.