Asian Equities Start Lower

Australian stocks paced a retreat in U.S. and European shares, while Japanese index futures signaled declines as concern over a ratcheting up in tensions between Greece and the rest of Europe damped demand for riskier assets. The yen held gains while crude oil snapped its rally.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.4 percent by 10:45 a.m. in Sydney, while Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures were bid down 0.5 percent in the Osaka pre-market as the yen held Monday’s 0.4 percent advance. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent after a second day of losses in the benchmark U.S. gauge, with an index of global equities at a one-week low. Oil in New York fell for the first time in four days, losing 0.6 percent before U.S. stockpiles data. Australian bonds dropped.

Greece’s new government is headed for a collision with the rest of the euro area after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras maintained a vow Sunday to end the nation’s austerity program. Concern over the Ukraine conflict is also percolating, with the U.S. floating the prospect of supplying the country with arms should the latest round of diplomatic efforts fail to bring a resolution with Russia. China is projected to post its slowest inflation since 2009 on Tuesday, amid the rout in oil prices.


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