Benchmarks in Shanghai and Seoul advanced, while Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney declined.
Anxiety over U.S.-Chinese trade tension was reignited by Washington's decision to require export licenses for technology sales to Huawei Technologies Ltd. American officials say the biggest global maker of network gear for phone carriers is a security risk, which Huawei denies.
That followed new tariff hikes announced by both sides in a broader battle over Beijing's technology ambitions and trade surplus.
Both sides are "seemingly digging in for a battle of attrition," said Mizuho Bank in a report. It said investors are trying to figure out the duration, the impact on profits and the "toxic atmosphere for American sales in China."
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3% to 2,880.71 while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 0.5 percent to 21,203.33.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3% to 27,688.12 and Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.5% to 2,066.48. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.3% to 6,458.50 and benchmarks in Taiwan and New Zealand also declined.
On Wall Street, chipmakers led the way lower as traders weighed the implications of the sales controls on Huawei, a major customer.
The U.S. government says suppliers including Huawei and its smaller Chinese rival, ZTE Corp., pose an espionage threat because they are beholden to China's ruling Communist Party. Huawei denies it facilitates Chinese spying.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.7% to 2,840.23 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 25,679.90. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite slid 1.5% to 7,702.38.
Apple Inc. skidded after an analyst warned the iPhone maker's growth prospects could dim as Washington and Beijing spar over trade.
Qualcomm, which gets about 65% of its revenue from China, slumped 6%. Broadcom, which gets nearly half of its revenue from China, also fell 6%. Intel dropped 3% and Xilinx slid 3.6%. An S&P index that measures the performance of chip and chip equipment makers fell nearly 4%.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 33 cents to $72.30 per barrel in electronic trading on the new York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 24 cents on Monday to close at $71.97. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 29 cents to $63.50 per barrel in London. It advanced 29 cents the previous session to $63.21.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 110.17 yen from Monday's 110.06 yen. The euro was little-changed at $1.1167.
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