Dollar and US yields in focus

Data released earlier in the day showed that retail sales last month rose 3.6 percent compared to one year ago, above the 1.8 percent median projected rise, Reuters said. Retail stocks were lower in the morning, with Fast Retailing declining 0.61 percent.

Over in Seoul, the Kospi edged lower by 0.29 percent after rising nearly 1 percent to notch a record close in the previous session. Technology stocks were mixed in the morning. Blue chip Samsung Electronics sank 1.76 percent ahead of its earnings report due Wednesday and SK Hynix declined 1.73 percent.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 was lower by 0.66 percent on broad-based weakness across sectors. The heavily-weighted financials sector was in negative territory.

Major miners traded mixed while gold producers traded in the red after several names reported production numbers for the second quarter. Newcrest Mining declined 1.78 percent and Evolution Mining was lower by 0.38 percent.

U.S. stocks closed lower, with the Dow Jones industrial average declining 177.23 points to close at 26,439.48. That came as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose above 2.7 percent, its highest levels since April 2014. The rise in bond rates this year has been driven by concerns over higher inflation.

“There were no major news behind the move higher in yields, but given the recent break of key resistance levels, core yields now have more freedom to move higher,” Rodrigo Catril, senior FX strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note.

Major indexes stateside had closed at record highs last week on the back of upbeat corporate earnings. As of Monday morning, 78 percent of S&P 500 companies that have announced results have topped earnings expectations, according to FactSet.

Several tech heavyweights, including Facebok and Apple, are due to report this week.

The dollar was steady against a basket currencies after moving higher following the rise in bond yields overnight. The dollar index stood at 89.365 at 8:29 a.m. HK/SIN. Against the yen, the U.S. currency held onto overnight gains to trade at 108.94.

The euro was mostly steady at $1.2381 after slipping as low as $1.2335 in the previous session.

On the commodities front, oil prices extended losses after settling lower on Monday on the firmer dollar. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 0.2 percent to trade at $65.43 per barrel. Brent crude futures, which had yet to trade, fell 1.5 percent to settle at $69.46 per barrel in the last session.

No Conspiracy Here