Tokyo stocks gave up early gains in lacklustre trading Tuesday morning, as concern about China's economy hung over the market while investors await minutes from the US Federal Reserve's last meeting.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange slid 0.22 percent, or 46.08 points, to 20,574.18 yen by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was flat, edging down 0.41 points to 1,672.46.
The benchmark Nikkei opened higher, picking up a positive lead from Wall Street as strong US housing data boosted optimism over the strength of the world's top economy.
The Dow rose 0.39 percent by the close, while the broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.52 percent.
Investors were cheered by a report from the National Association of Home Builders showing homebuilder sentiment hit its highest level since the recession ended in 2009.
"The US housing data were really good," Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told Bloomberg News.
"The American economy isn't so strong that it's overheating, but it's doing pretty well."
Tokyo stocks slipped into negative territory by the break, however, as China-linked shares dipped owing to lingering concerns about the world's number two economy after a series of currency devaluations last week.
Markets will now look to US Federal Reserve's meeting minutes, due Wednesday, for clues about its timeline for lifting interest rates, which some expect could come as early as next month.
"Concerns over the Chinese economy have not disappeared... but the Tokyo market is not bearish," Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities, told AFP.
"Now, players are waiting for the Fed minutes."
Construction equipment maker Komatsu, which counts China as a major market, fell 0.24 percent to 2,260.5 yen while market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo chain, was down 1.06 percent to 54,910 yen.
Mobile carrier SoftBank fell 0.65 percent to 7,458 yen, while automaker Toyota crept up 0.26 percent to 7,953 yen.
Toshiba was largely flat at 365.9 yen following reports that it would announce a management reshuffle in the wake of a billion-dollar accounting scandal.
On currency markets, the dollar was quoted at 124.46 yen, up from 124.41 yen in New York.