Relief over a bailout for Greece proved fleeting for global markets, with Asian markets losing momentum on Wednesday as investors worried about the realities of Athens restructuring its debt, the fragility other euro zone states and rising oil prices.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> inched down 0.2 percent, having climbed 14 percent so far this year to rank among top asset performers.
Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> opened nearly flat. <.T>
The market lacks a sense of direction today and will be stuck in recent ranges as we are at a level that prompts many investors to take profit, said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
European stocks fell on Tuesday as investors cashed in on recent rises, while U.S. stocks retreated from a rally on concerns surging oil prices would hurt growth and doubts about Greece's future.
The euro was at $1.3243 and struggling to make headway after it retreated from near two-week highs of $1.3293 reached on Tuesday after the long-awaited Greek bailout deal was clinched. Traders were looking to HSBC's flash manufacturing activity report on China due later in the session for direction.
At the end of the day, considering how perfectly in place the pieces will need to fall for this bailout and said reforms to make the necessary changes to help revitalize the Greek economy, I do not believe that a Greek default is off the table, said Christopher Vecchio, currency analyst at DailyFX.
European Central Bank: http://link.reuters.com/neg32s
Asset returns in 2012: http://link.reuters.com/nyw85s
The 130 billion-euro rescue fund averted an imminent Greek default, but kept intact the long-term risk of a messy default and regional contagion given deep-rooted mistrust over Athens' commitment to harsh reforms.
Even assuming the new Greek programme proceeds as planned, the Greek crisis is far from over, HSBC said in a report, noting the economy was in its fifth year of recession.
Even the revised debt sustainability analysis looks optimistic and remember that Greece will still be subject to quarterly reviews, which could well mean that we are back to worrying about whether Greece will get the next tranche of funds by the summer, it said.
OIL NEW CONCERN
Oil rose to a nine-month high on Tuesday on Greece's bailout and moves by top Asian consumers -- China, India and Japan -- to cut crude purchases from Iran, following Western sanctions aimed at limiting the country's nuclear programme.
U.S. crude futures for March delivery, which expired at the end of trading on Tuesday, hit a nine-month high to settle at $105.84 per barrel. Brent crude for April delivery settled at $121.66, also a nine-month high settlement.
Regional share markets, including Australia and South Korea, were likely to be weighed down by concerns the rising oil prices
could undermine fragile global growth.
Asian credit markets were subdued, with spreads on the iTraxx Asia ex-Japan investment grade index barely changed from Tuesday.
(Additional reporting by Ian Chua in Sydney and Mari Saito in Tokyo; Editing by John Mair and Alex Richardson)