Kospi sinks 1.7%
South Korea's Kospi index finished at a one-week low after posting its largest single-day fall in nearly 5 months. The Seoul index was also the biggest loser in the region on Wednesday.
Pharmaceuticals were among the hardest hit, with Hyundai Pharmaceutical slumping 14.9 percent. Index heavyweights also came under intense selling pressure; the top two weighted stocks Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor lost 3.3 and 1.6 percent, respectively, while steelmaker Poscoclosed down 3.4 percent after it dispelled market rumors that it would sell its trading affiliate Daewoo International Co.
Several corporate news were in focus; Kumho Asiana Group, the parent company of Asiana Airlines, said it will buy Kumho Buslines Co. for 415 billion won ($375.1 million). Shares of the No.2 air carrier in South Korea bounced 0.7 percent.
Outperforming the bourse for the second straight session following Tuesday's merger announcement, Samsung's de facto holding company Cheil Industries and construction affiliate Samsung C&T jumped 2.4 and 3.9 percent, respectively.
ASX loses 0.9%
Australia's S&P ASX 200 index declined amid a broad-based sell-off among its heavyweight components in the resources and banking sectors.
Gold and energy-related counters fell as a rejuvenated greenback took a toll on commodity prices. Alacer Gold and Newcrest Mining closed down 0.7 and 0.3 percent, respectively, as spot gold held near two-week lows in Asian trade. Among energy producers, Liquefied Natural Gas and Oil Search tanked 8.1 and 2.6 percent, respectively.
Fortescue Metals remains in the spotlight following a report by the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday, which said the iron ore miner has held discussions to get investments from Chinese companies. Shares of the world's fourth-biggest iron ore producer receded 2.08 percent, after surging 10.6 percent in the previous session. Big miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto also lost nearly 2 percent each.
Insurer Suncorp recouped early losses to inch up 0.15 percent after unveiling a plan to invest A$75 million to optimize its insurance and banking operations.
Indian indices down
India's S&P BSE Sensex and the 50-share Nifty index ended mixed. Among laggards, index heavyweight Tata Motors slumped over 5 percent after missing market expectations with a 56 percent drop in fourth quarter net profit.