Amid a dearth of economic and corporate news out of the U.S., trading on Wall Street was also muted, with the Dow Jones industrial average down 0.3 percent at 15,399.79 and the broader S&P 500 index 0.5 percent lower at 1,701.

Over the week, traders will have a run of speeches from policymakers at the Federal Reserve to digest â¿¿ nine officials are due to speak. Last week, the Fed surprised markets by opting to not reduce its monetary stimulus. Investors will also be keeping an eye on discussions in Congress over raising the debt ceiling. Lawmakers need to agree to raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown, and a potential default on payments, including debt, later in the month.

"Investors will remember a similar fiscal 'stalemate' back in 2011 over the debt-ceiling, which resulted in dollar weakness, higher bond yields and a sovereign credit rating downgrade of the U.S.," said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.

Earlier in Asia, a positive Chinese manufacturing survey had little impact outside of Shanghai. HSBC said its monthly purchasing managers' index for China rose to 51.2 points from 50.1 in August. The data breathed some life into Chinese markets, with the Shanghai Composite Index rising 1.3 percent to 2,221.04 and the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index spiking 2.2 percent to 1,059.74.

Elsewhere in Asia, trading was subdued. Japan's stock market was closed for a public holiday while a powerful storm forced Hong Kong markets to close in the morning. In the afternoon, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent to 23,371.54. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2 percent to 2,009.41 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent to 5,252.50.

____

Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

If you liked this article you might like

What's Behind the Surge in Energy Stocks

Hillary Clinton Says Prosecuting Individuals is Key to Wall Street Reform