Shanghai stocks retreated for the first time in 11 sessions on Wednesday as profit-takers moved in, while other Asian equity markets trod water after a healthy batch of US data again raised the prospect of an early interest rate hike.
The euro edged up marginally as investors were cheered by warmer relations between Greece and Germany as eurozone leaders try to hammer out a reformed bailout deal for Athens.
Shanghai, which surged to a near seven-year high over the past 10 sessions, eased 0.32 percent, while Seoul was slightly lower.
Tokyo was down 0.12 percent by the break, while Hong Kong edged up 0.13 percent and Sydney added 0.10 percent.
Global investors are keeping a close watch on the United States, looking for any signs that could give an idea of when the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates.
Comments last week from the central bank that the economy still had weaknesses cooled expectations it would announce an increase in early summer.
However, markets took note of news from the Labor Department that inflation hit 0.2 percent in February. That followed three successive months of falling prices, including January's 0.7 percent drop, which was the steepest since late 2008 during the financial crisis.
Also sales of new single-family homes surged to a seven-year high in February, accelerating for the third consecutive month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
The figures revived talk of an early rate hike, sending the dollar up and US stocks lower.
In Asian currency trade the dollar bought 119.69 yen, compared with 119.77 yen in New York but still up from 119.45 yen earlier Tuesday in Tokyo.
The Dow dipped 0.58 percent, the S&P 500 fell 0.61 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.32 percent.
Hopes for a resolution to the long-running Greek debt crisis were raised after the country's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other officials in Berlin that were said to have gone well.
European officials on Tuesday were hopeful that after months of tough negotiation, common ground could finally be reached with the new anti-austerity Greek government, which swept January elections in a ticket of renegotiating its debt obligations.
The upbeat news continues to support the euro, which bought $1.0927 and 130.74 yen Wednesday, compared with $1.0919 and 130.78 yen in US trade.
Oil prices edged higher. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose six cents to $47.57 while Brent gained 14 cents to $55.25.
Gold fetched $1,188.60 against $1,191.35 late Tuesday.