Asian shares slipped on Monday as investors switched their focus away from signs of stable U.S. growth, looking instead at tepid global corporate earnings and the uncertain economic outlook.
The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 Index, which measures markets across Asia, inched down 0.2 percent.
Japanese shares ended flat as disappointment about profit warnings from Honda Motor and NTT DoCoMo balanced hopes that the Bank of Japan will substantially expand its easing program when it meets on Tuesday.
The Nikkei ipped 3.7 points to 8,929.34 after tumbling off a four-week high on Friday. The broader Topix lost 0.1 percent to 740.30.
Honda Motor shed 4 percent after the automaker cut its full-year net profit forecast by 20 percent to 375 billion yen after sales in China, the world's biggest auto market, were hit by a backlash against Japanese products last month in a dispute over East China Sea islands.
Honda shares had ended the morning session 0.2 percent higher at 2,520 yen.
Rivals Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor also reversed earlier gains to trade down. Toyota fell 1.1 percent and Nissan dropped 2 percent.
Honda was the second-most traded stock on the main board by turnover, while Toyota and Nissan were the fourth- and fifth-most traded.
Stanley Electric lost 2.2 percent after falling as much as 1,068 yen to a three-month low, after the maker of automobile head lamps withdrew its full-year operating profit guidance, saying it was difficult to gauge the impact of the drop in sales of Japanese cars in China.
Nippon Sheet Glass rose 3.3 percent after the Nikkei business newspaper said the company was likely to post a 3 billion yen operating loss for the second quarter ended September, smaller than the 4.5 billion yen loss forecast and narrower than the 8.5 billion yen loss in the first quarter.
NEC rose 2.1 percent as investors expected the maker of computer and electronics parts to beat its full-year earnings guidance following its first-half results ended September.
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 1.5 percent after the banking group raised its net profit estimate for the six months ended September by 32 percent to 330 billion yen on bond trading gains and lower credit costs.
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group was the second-most traded stock on the main board by turnover.
Rival Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group added 0.3 percent while Mizuho Financial Group was flat
NTT DoCoMo dropped 3.1 percent to 119,600 yen, hitting a record low after the mobile operator cut its full-year operating profit forecast by 8.9 percent to 820 billion yen, citing tough market competition.
Mainland Chinese shares closed at their lowest in a month, as investors sold shares to lock in profits on financial firms that have yet to post their third-quarter corporate earnings.
The CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed down 0.5 percent at 2,235.9, its fifth-straight loss. The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.4 percent. Both indices closed at their respective lowest since Sept. 26.
Hong Kong shares slipped as local developers tumbled on fears that new measures to cool soaring property prices will sap demand, but broader losses were limited by strong earnings by Chinese banks.
The Hang Seng Index ended down 0.2 percent at 21,511.1, the lowest close since Oct. 17. The China Enterprises Index f the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong finished up 0.9 percent at 10,546.2.
Hong Kong real estate stocks reeled after the city's government imposed a new 15 percent tax on foreign and corporate real estate buyers and stiffened the resale stamp duty fees in the hope of calming property prices, which have surpassed historical highs hit in 1997. New World Development, which had soared more than 100 percent year to date, dived 6.4 percent.
Australian shares closed up 0.1 percent, supported by miners and retailers as investors took heart from a pick-up in U.S. third-quarter economic growth.
Rio Tinto rose 0.8 percent, while Lynas umped 2.9 percent.
Retailer Westfield gained 1 percent, while supermarket giant Woolworths rose 0.3 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 4.5 points at 4,476.9, paring early gains as investors awaited Chinese PMI data due later this week. The benchmark fell 0.8 percent on Friday to end the week down 2.15 percent, its biggest weekly fall since May.
Base Resources slumped 30.1 percent to A$0.29 over uncertainty about a new law in Kenya that would give the Kenyan government a minimum 35 percent stake in mining leases. The mineral sands project in Kenya is the company's flagship venture.
Consolidated Media advanced 0.3 percent to A$3.44. Shareholders are expected to approve a A$2 billion ($2.07 billion) takeover offer from News Corp recommended by the board.
GPT Group jumped 1.7 percent as the shopping mall, office and business park owner said it was on track to achieve its forecast for 2012 of at least 7 percent earnings per security growth, thanks to rent hikes and strong occupancy levels.
Sirius Resources climbed 3 percent to A$2.44. The exploration company reported what it called the "best hits yet" in drilling at its Nova nickel and copper deposit in Western Australia.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index dropped 0.8 percent to 3,951.3 points.
South Korean shares ended little changed, struggling near a seven-week low, as gains in tech stocks were offset by losses in autos.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ended up a scant 0.09 points at 1,891.52, after closing on Friday at their lowest level since early September on concerns that the strong won will inflict further pain on exporters struggling with weak global demand.
LG Display closed up 7.6 percent after reporting the quarterly profit in two years after the market close on Friday.
Kia Motors closed 4 percent lower, extending Friday's losses, after third-quarter results confirmed that labor strikes had taken a toll on production.
In India, the BSE Index and the 50-share NSE index losed up 0.1 percent.