Global markets: Asian shares listless, yen firmer but near lows
Concerns about the euro zone economy, U.S. fiscal talks and Chinese appetite limited gains in commodities and also weighed on the euro.
The dollar's strength against a basket of currencies also weighed on commodities and capped gains in gold.
"Markets have become top-heavy after rallying through early February on signs of economic recovery in the United States and Europe, and investors now await fresh factors to push prices higher from here," said Tomomichi Akuta, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting in Tokyo.
"The broad sentiment is underpinned by a lack of tail risks, but investors are turning to some potentially worrying elements such as Italian elections and U.S. budget talks," he said.
The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat after briefly touching a 18-1/2-month high. The index has gained 3.5 percent this year.
Disappointing earnings pushed European shares lower on Monday for a third straight session while U.S. markets were closed for the President's Day holiday.
The risk of an inconclusive outcome in Italy's election this weekend added to concerns while investors kept eyes on Washington where policymakers are discussing a package of budget cuts set to kick in March 1, which analysts warn could hurt the economy.
"We didn't have a lead from Wall St overnight, we also had weakness coming through from European markets overnight, so we were never expecting a strong day,"
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