Asian shares fell on Tuesday as fears about the ability of politicians on either side of the Atlantic to tackle huge debt burdens sapped investors' confidence in riskier assets.
The failure on Monday of a super committee of U.S. lawmakers to reach agreement on a deficit cutting plan was another blow to market confidence hammered for weeks by Europe's inexorably worsening sovereign debt crisis.
U.S. stocks fell around 2 percent on Monday, following sharp falls in Europe, and commodities also slumped on concerns that the chances of a global recession are rising.
The S&P index has broken sharply lower and looks technically pretty dire, despite more OK data as the Chicago Fed index bounced slightly and the overhang of unsold homes dipped back to a lower but still high 8 months, said Kit Juckes, head of foreign exchange research at Societe General.
Asia's equity markets will react more to the S&P than to European news.
Japan's Nikkei share average opened down 1 percent, hitting its lowest level in 8 months, whilst MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4 percent to mark its sixth straight session in the red.
The news that a Congressional committee of six Republicans and six Democrats had abandoned their efforts to reach a deal on reducing the United States' ballooning deficit had been expected, and reinforced investors' perceptions that Washington politicians are too divided to deal with the debt problem.
It came as the euro zone's crisis crept ever closer to the heart of the continent, with the risk premiums on Spanish, French, Italian and Belgian government bonds rising after Moody's warned that France's triple-A credit rating was under threat.
The euro was steady around $1.3495 on Tuesday and the dollar held firm after jumping on Monday. Ironically, the U.S. currency has been boosted by the debt worries because it remains investors' preferred safe haven in times of market volatility.
(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)