Asian markets tapered Wednesday after an early rally as nerves returned to trading floors, with a pick-up in the yen skimming Japan's Nikkei.
The day started on a positive note as gains on Wall Street and in Europe -- fuelled by upbeat Chinese inflation data and progress on Greece's debt relief -- provided a healthy buying catalyst after last week's sell-offs.
The gains initially extended into Asia, with Tokyo's Nikkei surging with exporters thanks to the weakening yen but the rally petered towards the end of the day as the Japanese unit recovered.
By the close of trade Tokyo was up 0.1 percent. The dollar slipped to 108.67 yen from 109.27 yen late in New York, but analysts said the losses were to be expected after rallying over the past week and the dollar could hit 110 yen soon. The greenback hit a recent trough of 105.50 yen last Tuesday.
Japanese leaders, including Finance Minister Taro Aso, have tried to cap yen gains by keeping the possibility of government intervention on the table.
"Talk of intervention from Japan is one catalyst pushing the yen lower," Masato Yanagiya, head of currency and money trading at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. in New York told Bloomberg News.
A pick-up in the yen -- it is up more than 10 percent against the dollar this year so far -- led Toyota on Wednesday to warn that net profit in the current fiscal year would fall by about a third.
In other markets Shanghai ended 0.2 percent higher and Sydney rose 0.6 percent but Seoul slid 0.1 percent.
Manila soared more than three percent as the controversial Rodrigo Duterte tried to soothe investor worries after his landslide victory in presidential elections Monday.
Hong Kong was one percent down as mainland shares listed in the city were hit by fears China may not introduce any fresh stimulus for some time after a warning over debt levels by the government mouthpiece People’s Daily.
Energy firms struggled to maintain initial gains as oil prices retreated from Tuesday's surge. West Texas Intermediate had jumped 2.8 percent and Brent climbed 4.3 percent following data showing producer giant Nigeria's output had hit a 22-year low because of pipeline sabotage and increasing unrest.
A report indicating US stockpiles increased last week also stunted buying sentiment.
The commodity has seen strong swings this week as traders weigh up the effects of the blazes that have torn across the vast oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, as well as disruptions elsewhere.
However, analysts said they expected prices to flatline for the time being.
"The sentiment around traders in the market is that they do think the disruptions are a temporary obstacle. Longer-term, should oil companies resume production, they are expecting oil prices to hover around $40," CMC Markets senior trader Alex Wijaya told AFP.
Brent and WTI were each down one percent Wednesday.
In early European trade London fell 0.2 percent, Frankfurt rose 0.1 percent and Paris dipped 0.1 percent.
- Key figures around 0830 GMT -
Tokyo: Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 16,579.01 (close)
Shanghai - composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,837.04 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.0 percent at 20,038.90 (close)
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 6,146.31
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1392 from $1.1372 Tuesday
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.74 yen from 109.27 yen Tuesday
New York - Dow: UP 1.3 percent at 17,928.35 (close)