Asian Equities Ease as Dollar Stands Tall

Asian shares fell in early trading on Tuesday, while the dollar held near highs scaled in holiday-thinned trading in the previous session.  European shares marked a weak finish in thin trade on Monday, with many markets in the region closed for holidays. U.S. markets were also closed for Memorial Day.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 0.2 percent in early trade, after eking out a late gain in the previous session.  Japan’s Nikkei stock index .N225 edged up 0.1 percent, after logging seven straight gains and closing at a fresh 15-year high on Monday.

The dollar hit a one-month high against a basket of major currencies on Monday in the wake of Friday’s comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who rekindled market expectations that the central bank was gearing up to hike interest rates.  The dollar index .DXY rose as high as 96.475 on Monday, after Yellen said she expected economic data to strengthen and noted that some of the U.S. economy’s weakness at the start of the year might be due to “statistical noise.”