Asian Equities Fall on U.S. Lead

Asian stocks sagged on Wednesday, taking their lead from weaker U.S. shares, while the dollar held to sizeable gains against a euro dogged by nerves over Greek debt negotiations.  Crude oil prices continued declining as negotiations between Iran and world powers over nuclear technology with potential supply implications dragged on beyond a deadline.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 0.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei .N225 lost 0.3 percent and South Korean and Australian shares also dipped.  Wall Street took a hit overnight as energy and healthcare shares retreated. But highlighting the boon enjoyed by U.S. equities on the back of stronger economic fundamentals, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq registered their ninth straight quarterly advance.

The dollar was steady, holding to sizeable gains against the yen and euro, just coming out of its worst quarter against the greenback.  The euro tumbled 11 percent last quarter as U.S. and euro zone monetary policies diverged, with the Federal Reserve poised to hike interest rates while the European Central Bank threw itself into quantitative easing.