Asian shares mostly slipped Wednesday as a four-day rally came to an end, after lawmakers in Slovakia blocked an expansion of a bailout fund for troubled eurozone economies.
Tokyo lost 0.67 percent by the lunchtime break, Hong Kong fell 0.25 percent in morning trade, Sydney slipped 0.99 percent and Seoul shed 0.58 percent. But Shanghai gained 0.95 percent.
Disappointing earnings from US aluminium giant Alcoa added to the selling pressure, raising concerns over the upcoming reporting season.
"Markets will trade with a cautious tone keeping one eye on earnings and the other on developments in the eurozone," said Mitul Kotecha, strategist at Credit Agricole.
"As we have noted, expectations of some concrete action by officials to help resolve the crisis in the eurozone by the end of the month are a key driving force for markets," he said.
"But past history suggests that the risk of disappointment is high."
Global markets had seen strong gains over the past few sessions on hopes the eurozone debt crisis could be resolved, a feeling reinforced by a weekend announcement by France and Germany that they would shore up the region's banks.
The recent gains brought some relief after global markets had slumped on fears that Greece's debt troubles could lead it to default, which would in turn spread to other economies and banks.
Nerves set in again Wednesday after Slovakia's parliament blocked a plan to expand the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), dealing a further blow to the bloc's leaders as they look for a solution to the crisis.
It effectively stops the expansion of the 440-billion-euro ($600 billion) bailout fund, despite warnings from European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet that the world faces systemic dangers.
Slovakia is the last of the 17 eurozone members to vote on the revamp.
The vote also toppled the government of Prime Minister Iveta Radicova, who failed to secure backing from the junior coalition Freedom and Solidarity party after she turned the measure into a confidence motion.
Resource firms in Australia dipped after Alcoa said Tuesday that third-quarter net profit tripled from a year earlier, but almost halved from the previous quarter as metal prices fell and the European economy stumbled.
In Sydney Alumina dropped 4.4 percent, while BHP Billiton lost 1.9 percent and Rio Tinto shed 2.3 percent.
The result also weighed on the Dow, which ended 0.15 percent lower.
On currency markets the euro dipped in Asian trade after recent gains, standing at $1.3596, down from $1.3636 and 104.25 yen against 104.52 yen.
The dollar fetched 76.70 yen, a tad up from 76.65 yen in New York Tuesday. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for November delivery, sank $1.03 to $84.78 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude, also for delivery in the same month, eased 65 cents to $110.08.
By 0200 GMT gold was at $1,663.80 an ounce, down from $1,660.55 at 1100 GMT on Tuesday.