Asian stock markets tumbled on Tuesday, with Japan leading losses after a general election in Italy pointed to deadlock in parliament and raised fears of a new crisis in the euro zone.
"It's rather disappointing that we haven't had a positive outcome, it looks like we're going to end up with a hung parliament situation," Paul Bloxham, chief economist for Australia at HSBC told CNBC. "When you're sitting over here in Asia or in Australia, then the disappointment is that there isn't a clear path as to how this thing's going to resolve itself."
The uncertainty in Italy has infused a degree of volatility back into markets after weeks of trading in a risk-on environment, which has helped stocks in Japan and Australia add 5 percent and 4 percent respectively since the start of the month.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appears before the Senate Banking Committee later in the day and any comments he makes about an early end to the central bank's ultra-easy monetary policy may weigh on sentiment further.
"Traders will be looking for clues which support the QE3 (quantitative easing) program after last week's Fed policy meeting appeared to hint it may end sooner than expected," said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets.