Asia Markets

Asia stocks fall as investors watch Ukraine; earnings in focus

Asian equity markets were mostly lower on Tuesday as tensions over Ukraine took the shine off Wall Street's overnight gains.

Focus was on Europe where Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko is due to meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Belarus on Tuesday. The meeting comes after Poroshenko dissolved Ukraine's parliament on Monday and announced that new parliamentary elections will take place on October.

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Meanwhile, global markets rallied overnight with the S&P 500 crossing 2,000 for the first time on optimism that the European Central Bank (ECB) would pursue further moves to stimulate the European economy following Mario Draghi's speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming last week.

"The issue here is Germany, the largest weighted nation, does not require stimulus, whereas Portugal does. This is why Mario Draghi has a very thin line to walk. He's bound by laws that govern the whole zone but really needs to target individual economies," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG, in a note.

Nikkei down 0.6%

Japan's benchmark index closed at a one-week low just a day after hitting its highest level in over three weeks. Investors tracked movements in currency markets as the yen moved off a seven-month low against the greenback.

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Among top losers, SoftBank, Rakuten and Fast Retailing fell more than 1 percent each.

Japan Tobacco dipped 0.5 percent after the Nikkei newspaper reported that the firm's earnings per share for this fiscal year could decline 16 percent.

China shares lower

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index fell 1 percent to its lowest levels in over two weeks due to a selloff in the airline space.

Air China lost over 3 percent ahead of reporting results later in the day while China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines also shed over 3 percent each. Hainan Airlines fell 2.6 percent.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index posted modest losses after rising to a six-year high in the previous session.

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ASX flat

Australia's benchmark index traded in a narrow range as investors digested the latest first-half earnings reports.

Pacific Brands rose 1.7 percent after swinging to a net loss, drilling services firm Boart Longyear slumped 13 percent after reporting a loss and failing to pay a dividend and Senex Energy tumbled 9 percent after announcing that it would not pay a final dividend.

Kospi gains 0.3%

South Korean shares bucked the trend and finished at a one-week high thanks to gains in shipbuilders. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering closed up nearly 5 percent higher while Samsung Heavy Industries rallied over 3 percent.

Nifty down 0.2%

Indian shares tracked losses in Asian markets after hitting a record high on Monday but finished Tuesday's session flat.