North Korea said it had successfully tested a powerful new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put all of the U.S. mainland within range, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edging lower.
Philippine stocks took the worst beating in the region, falling 0.8 percent.
The brightening prospect of U.S. tax cuts could weigh on Philippine firms that provide outsourcing services, said Fio Dejesus, analyst at RCBC Securities.
Senate Republicans pushed forward their bill in a partisan committee vote on Tuesday, lifting Wall Street to record closes overnight.
"There is actually a risk that the so-called blue collar KPOs (knowledge process outsourcing) would be under threat from the tax. If you would have corporate tax slashed in the U.S. then maybe some of these processes will move back to the U.S.," said Dejesus.
Builders Ayala Land and SM Prime Holdings were the biggest drags on the main index, declining about 2 percent each.
Thai shares firmed 0.4 percent, led by financials, with Kasikornbank Pcl up 2.7 percent and Siam Commercial Bank Pcl gaining 2.4 percent.
Malaysian stocks rose about 0.2 percent, driven by gains in utility and materials stocks.
Heavyweights Tenaga Nasional Bhd rose 2.4 percent while Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd climbed more than 1 percent.
Indonesia stocks slipped 0.3 percent as telecom and consumer staples stocks weighed on the index, while the index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks fell 0.6 percent.
Singapore stocks firmed to a two-and-a-half year high before paring the gains to trade marginally lower, as gains in consumer discretionary stocks offset losses in financials. - Reuters