Most Asian stocks fall amid Greece standoff as Japan drops on yen

Most Asian stocks fell as Japanese shares slid on a stronger yen and investors awaited the outcome of talks between Greece and its creditors. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Most Asian stocks fell as Japanese shares slid on a stronger yen and investors awaited the outcome of talks between Greece and its creditors. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (Bloomberg) - Most Asian stocks fell as Japanese shares slid on a stronger yen and investors awaited the outcome of talks between Greece and its creditors.

About three shares dropped for every two that advanced on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which slipped less than 0.1 per cent to 150.41 as of 9:02 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan's Topix index dropped 0.3 per cent after the yen gained 0.5 per cent against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The impasse over Greece's future lingered as both sides worked on rival proposals for the conditions of a financial lifeline with debt payments looming. Bonds in Australia and New Zealand tracked a selloff in European and U.S. debt that was reignited Tuesday.

"There's every reason for equity markets to be volatile at the moment given the steepening yield curve globally," Tim Schroeders, a portfolio manager who helps oversee about US$1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne, said by phone. "We've had some explosive gains in the Asian markets, particularly in China and Japan. The probability is a deal on Greece will get done at the 11th hour but there will be a bit of drama until that deadline."

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras heads to Brussels for talks after finding himself boxed into a corner as creditors prepare to deliver a final proposal to end the stalemate over a financial lifeline. After European leaders and the head of the International Monetary Fund held talks in Berlin on Monday night, creditors agreed on a document designed to avert a default that will be presented to Greece. Tsipras said the only plan on the table was one his government submitted.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.1 per cent, as did New Zealand's NZX 50 Index. South Korea's Kospi index added 0.1 per cent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to open.

The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.7 per cent on Tuesday amid optimism government stimulus measures will buoy the economy and boost earnings. The ChiNext index of smaller Chinese firms advanced 4.9 per cent, closing at a record for a second day.