Though a deal is expected to be agreed in time to avoid the fiscal cliff, time is running out and some investors are cashing in especially, with the winter holidays round the corner.
"All eyes continue to focus on talks to avert the 'fiscal cliff' as negotiators warned that talks could drag on past Christmas as sharp differences remain," said Lee Mumford, a financial sales trader at Spreadex.
Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.7 percent to close at 9,742.73 â¿¿ an eight-month high â¿¿ as the yen remained weak against the dollar, a boost for Japan's export-reliant economy. The dollar was flat at 83.13 yen.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed earlier gains to close 0.3 percent lower at 22,445.50 while South Korea's Kospi rallied 1.4 percent to 2,002.77.Oil prices tracked equities lower, with the benchmark New York rate down 55 cents at $86.22 a barrel.