Asian stocks slipped on Wednesday as investors worried global growth was faltering, while the euro hovered near a 7-week high as investors shunned long positions in the dollar.
A rebound in world stock markets on Tuesday, mainly propelled by bargain-hunting, turned out to be short-lived as data showed growth in the U.S. service sector was slowing, the latest evidence that its expansion was cooling.
Wall Street rose, snapping a five-day losing steak despite the data, but strong buying interest disappeared by afternoon as bearish sentiment reasserted itself. <.N>
Investors are not wholly confident about the global economic outlook. Recent weaker-than-expected U.S. data is weighing on sentiment, said Y.S. Rhoo, a market analyst at Hyundai Securities in South Korea.
The MSCI index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> shed almost 0.9 percent, resuming its decline after the previous day's rally, which had been largely spurred by gains in the beaten-down Shanghai market and an upbeat assessment of the region's economic outlook from Australia's central bank.
The MSCI index has lost nearly 9 percent so far this year.
Investors were largely neutral on Asian equities, with five of the 16 Asian exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tracked by TrimTabs Investment Research posting an inflow, five having outflows and the rest flat.
In China, market liquidity deteriorated for the third straight month in June, and huge bank offerings will keep it tight in July, the research firm said.
Shanghai stocks <.SSEC> were virtually flat, a day after gaining nearly 2 percent on hopes that money will move back into the oversold market after the completion of Agricultural Bank of China's mammoth initial public offering of more than $20 billion, which could be the world's largest.
The Shanghai market, the world's second-worst performer after Greece, has lost 27 percent since the start of the year after Beijing took a range of steps to cool surging property prices.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China <1398.HK> <601398.SS> may raise up to 45 billion yuan ($6.6 billion) through rights offers in a rush to replenish their coffers, a banking source told IFR Asia, a Thomson Reuters publication, on Wednesday.
Shares of ICBC, the world's most valuable lender, slid nearly 1.8 percent in Hong Kong trading.
South Korean shares <.KS11> shed nearly 0.6 percent, as Samsung Electronics <005930.KS>, Asia's biggest tech company by market value, slipped despite posting a record quarterly operating profit estimate as downbeat U.S. data weighed.
Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> fell 0.6 percent as shares of exporters that had risen the day before gave back some of the gains, but the index remained above a seven-month low hit on Tuesday.
There's little short-covering left today because investors already moved to cover short positions yesterday after the Nikkei managed to avoid breaking below the 9,000 level, said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities.
The verdict has yet to be reached, but a sense of relief could spread if the Nikkei were to be able to keep above that level despite confusion in Europe, a slowdown in America and volatile currency moves.
Meanwhile, the euro eased to $1.2585, with near-term resistance around the May 21 high of $1.2670 and support forming at the July 2 low of $1.2480.
The single currency rose to as high as $1.2662 on Tuesday, gaining nearly 0.7 percent.
The dollar index <.DXY> edged up 0.18 percent to 84.237.
The dollar was steady against the yen at 87.49 yen, not far from a seven-month low of 86.96 yen hit on EBS last week. The yen has made solid gains against the greenback in recent sessions on growing worries about an economic slowdown in the United States and falling stock markets <.SPX>.
The Australian dollar shed half of a percent to $0.8480, giving back some of its 1.5 percent climb the previous day, as Asian share prices fell.
Meanwhile, spot gold rose as much as $3.60 to $1,195.85 an ounce, regaining strength after falling to a six-week low in the previous day.
U.S. crude prices gained 12 cents to $72.10 per barrel, pulling away from a four-week low hit on Tuesday as traders bet on a further decline in U.S. oil inventories.
(Editing by Alex Richardson)