Asian stocks fall as investors weigh Greece standoff, await Fed

A woman walks past Bank of Greece headquarters in central Athens on June 15, 2015. Asian stocks fell as investors awaited an update from the Federal Reserve on US monetary policy and a meeting of euro-area finance ministers with Greece. -- PHOTO: AFP
A woman walks past Bank of Greece headquarters in central Athens on June 15, 2015. Asian stocks fell as investors awaited an update from the Federal Reserve on US monetary policy and a meeting of euro-area finance ministers with Greece. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks fell as investors awaited an update from the Federal Reserve on U.S. monetary policy and a meeting of euro-area finance ministers with Greece.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated 0.1 per cent to 147.26 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge lost 0.5 per cent on Monday after the latest round of negotiations between Greece and its creditors fell apart. The Fed starts a two-day policy meeting Tuesday. While U.S. data from hiring to spending have indicated the economy improved after a first-quarter slump, reports Monday showed an unexpected decline in factory output.

"All week it will be about Greece and the Fed," Stan Shamu, Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Ltd., said by phone. "We might start to see the Fed getting a little bit more upbeat and that could cause some volatility. Most traders want to be cautious first and react after we see what happens toward the back end of the week with Greece. For now, there will continue to be that element of caution in the market."

European policy makers urged Greece to make the concessions needed to unlock bailout aid, with a June 18 meeting of finance ministers the next opportunity for a showdown between the nation and its creditors.

Japan's Topix index lost 0.4 per cent. South Korea's Kospi index added 0.1 per cent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed. New Zealand's NZX 50 Index slid 0.1 percent.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.1 per cent. The underlying gauge sank 0.5 percent on Monday. Factory production unexpectedly declined in May as the slump in energy output deepened.

Futures on Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.5 per cent and contracts on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms listed in the city slid 0.6 per cent in most recent trading.

The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2 per cent on Monday, falling from its highest level in seven years, amid concern a flood of share sales may lure funds away from existing equities.