TOKYO -- Asian stock markets were mixed in early trading Tuesday with Japan's Nikkei index under pressure as the yen hovered near a 15-year high against the dollar.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index fell 32.83 points, or 0.4 percent, to 9,368.33.

South Korea's Kospi lost 0.1 percent to 1,914.39. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.4 percent at 4,763.90. Shares in New Zealand and Singapore were marginally higher.

In Tokyo, sentiment was sluggish as investors sold exporters on a strong yen against the greenback.

On Monday, the dollar hit a fresh 15-year-low of 80.41 yen, nearing to a post-World War II era low of 79.75 set in 1995. The dollar stood at 80.71 yen in Tokyo Tuesday.

A strong yen hurts Japanese exporters as it cuts the value of their repatriated profits, and makes their products less competitive abroad.

In New York on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 31.49 points, or 0.28 percent, to 11,164.05 on growing expectations that the Federal Reserve will take steps to boost the US economy. (AP)