A full-blown Santa Claus rally remained elusive, but Asian markets ended mostly a tad higher Tuesday, as the jolly fat man delivered a glimmer of green in the little time left to trade before the holiday.
The few traders left in the market may be looking past any Christmas cheer to concerns about the outlook for the following year.
"The prospect of a persistently strong dollar, sluggish global growth and lower commodity prices in the first half of the year means that earnings and stocks could suffer," Kathy Lien, managing director for foreign-exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, said in a note Tuesday. "We are looking for a correction in equities in early 2016."
Bucking the broader market trend, Japan's shares ended a tad lower after briefly popping into the green in afternoon trade. The Nikkei 225 index ended down 29.32 points, or 0.2 percent, at 18,886.70. Japan's market will be closed Wednesday for the emperor's birthday.
Among declining shares, McDonald's Japan dropped 7.9 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported Monday that the U.S. parent is considering selling a stake in the Japanese business.
Toshiba plunged 12.3 percent, extending Monday's 9.8 drop. After the market close Monday, Toshiba said it expects to post a fiscal year net loss of 550 billion yen ($4.54 billion), larger than a Dow Jones report over the weekend which cited people close to the matter as saying the loss would be around 500 billion yen.
Shares of beer-maker Kirin dropped 5.8 percent after the company said Monday it expected a full-year net loss of 56 billion yen due to poor performance from its Brazil operations. It was the company's first annual loss since 1949, when the shares were listed.
On the upside, Taisei tacked on 1.6 percent after the announcement Tuesday that the design from the consortium it leads will be used for the new stadium for the Olympics.