Weaker GDP growth pulls down stocks in Sydney
An office worker walks past the board of the Australian Securities Exchange building displaying its logo in central Sydney, in April, 2013.

Asian equities have dropped to their lowest level in 2013 after Wall Street posted losses on concerns that the US Federal Reserve could prune its bond-buying programme.

The US Federal Reserve's massive asset buys have served as a major stimulus for markets but investors were worried that a potential rollback of the programme would suck out funds from the markets.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.8% to hit a six-month low.

Japanese shares moved between gains and losses as investors awaited a key policy speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Nikkei fell 0.42% or 56.17 points to 13477.59.

China's Shanghai composite index shed 0.15% or 3.47 points to 2268.95.

Australia's S&P/ASX dropped 1.04% or 50.9 points to 4849.90 after the country reported lower-than-expected growth figures, pulling down banking stocks.

Australia's gross domestic product inched up 0.6% during the January-March quarter. On a seasonally adjusted basis, GDP was 2.5% higher than a year ago. Economists had on average expected a 0.7% quarterly increase and a 2.7% annual increase in GDP, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

Australia is suffering from a lower demand for its commodities as it struggles to move away from mining-led growth.

South Korea's Kospi was down 0.97% or 19.31 points to 1970.17, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was dropped 0.82% or 182.33 points to 22103.19, on course for its fifth loss in six trading sessions.

On 4 June, Wall Street ended lower after investors sold growth-focused stocks on rumors the Federal Reserve could taper the pace of its asset buys. The Dow fell 0.5% to 15,177.54. The S&P 500 index shed 0.55% to 1,631.38 at the end of day, but has added 14.4% this year. The Nasdaq Composite index ended 0.58% lower at 3,445.26.

In Japan, Exporter stocks retreated with the US dollar trading 0.30% lower at ¥99.7300 at 1:56 pm Japanese time.

Fast Retailing fell 3.3% even after reporting a more-than-10% increase in sales for the month of May at its Uniqlo stores.

Mitsubishi Motors dropped 3.2%. Sony shed 2.4%, despite a Nikkei newspaper report that would sell e-books for Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad in Japan from the second half of the current financial year.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group was down 1.2%, while Mizuho Financial Group shed 0.5%.

In Hong Kong, Ping An Insurance Group was down 0.8% while China Construction Bank shed 0.5%. The firms lost 0.4% and 0.2% in Shanghai.

In South Korea, Samsung Electronics inched up 0.4% after the US International Trade Commission ruled in favor of the company in a patent dispute, and against Apple Inc, banning older iPhone and iPad models.

Car maker Hyundai Motor dropped 1.9%, while Kia Motors fell 1.5%, pulled down by Wall Street's poor performance on 4 June.

In Sydney, Westpac Banking dropped 1.9% while Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 1.2%.

Iron-ore miner Fortescue Metals Group gained 1.5% following an increase in ore prices.