GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia stocks, oil take breather after rally

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 03, 2013 00:30 hrs

HONG KONG, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Many Asian stocks were set to start Thursday with mild gains while oil eased following the previous session's rally as investors look ahead to negotiations on the U.S. debt limit and spending cuts.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) opened up 0.5 percent at 2,040.51 points at 0002 GMT, but fell back, while Australian shares rose 0.4 percent to a fresh 19-month high early on Thursday, boosted by miners and banks.

Stocks on Wall Street started 2013 with their best day in more than a year as relief over a last-minute deal in Washington to avert the "fiscal cliff" sparked a broad rally with technology and banking shares leading the move higher. .

The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index of stocks was up 0.2 percent in early trading following a jump of more than 2 percent on Wednesday. Australian shares were up 0.4 percent with mining giant Rio Tinto up 1.6 percent.

In currencies, the euro which in overnight trading was close to a 8-1/2 month high against the dollar, was trading little changed.

High-yielding currencies such the Australian dollar , last quoted at $1.0492, held on to their broad gains as the dollar remained on the back foot.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,687.55 an ounce, while oil futures dipped 37 cents to $92.75.

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