Asian shares ended a seven-day winning streak Wednesday as investor concern rose over whether U.S. lawmakers were putting the world's largest economy at risk of recession by failing to make headway in their budget talks.
Tuesday's agreement by international lenders to cut Greece's debt offered relief, but skepticism over the lack of details on how Athens will carry out budget reforms capped a rise in European shares and the euro.
U.S. stocks slid overnight after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., voiced disappointment over little progress in dealing with an approaching "fiscal cliff."
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched down 0.2 percent, retreating from Tuesday's nearly three-week highs, Reuters reported.
Australian shares fell 0.4 percent, easing from two-week highs. Government data on Wednesday showed a slowing in investment in the resource sector, the main driver of Australian growth, as costs rose and commodity prices decline, driven by a drop in Chinese demand.
South Korean shares opened 0.5 percent lower.
The euro was down 0.1 percent to $1.2937, slipping from a peak of $1.3010 hit on the Greece news on Tuesday, its highest level since Oct. 31.
Japan's Nikkei opened down 0.5 percent, after closing at a seven-month high. The average has risen 8.8 percent over the past two weeks since the government announced a Dec. 16 election. Japan's main opposition party is forecast to win, and investors expect it will force the Bank of Japan into aggressive easing.