* Australian shares flat, S&P 500 futures edge up
* Brent crude sits near nine-month high around $119
* Euro dips to two-week low
* Most Asian financial centres shut for Lunar New Year
By Alex Richardson
SINGAPORE, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Oil and equities dawdled on
Monday near multi-month highs scaled after robust Chinese trade
data last week, while the euro slipped to a two-week low as
uncertainty surrounded a political scandal in Spain and a
looming election in Italy.
With the Lunar New Year holiday shutting most Asian
financial centres, including those in Japan, China, Hong Kong,
Singapore and South Korea, trading was light and volatile on
many of those exchanges that remained open.
European markets were expected to likewise lack momentum in
the absence of major economic drivers and ahead of a meeting of
the Eurogroup, where the discussion around the risk of a global
round of competitive currency devaluation could re-emerge.
Financial bookmakers called major European indexes
to open flat.
Australian shares were flat after closing at a
34-month high on Friday following positive data from China, the
most important consumer of Australia's commodity exports.
S&P 500 index futures inched up 0.1 percent after the
Wall Street benchmark reached a five-year high on Friday.
Brent crude oil, which touched its highest in nine
months on Friday, was unchanged just below $119 a barrel.
Foreign exchange trading was choppy in thin volumes, with
what traders interpreted as slightly dovish comments from the
European Central Bank last week also weighing on the euro, which
has shed around 2.5 percent since reaching a 15-month high above
$1.37 on Feb. 1.
The euro briefly fell to $1.3325 on Monday, after
stop-loss selling was triggered below $1.3340, traders said,
before recovering to stand little changed around $1.3370.
There are growing worries about Spain as a scandal on secret
cash payments engulfs the prime minister, while confidence in
Italy has been shaken in the run-up to a Feb. 24-25 election.
"The euro's upside is likely to be limited and short-lived,"
said Aroop Chatterjee, an analyst at Barclays Capital.
"Better financial conditions are likely to be offset by
rising political risks, market positioning and a weaker economy.
We expect the euro to be on a declining trend beginning in Q2."
The yen pared a little of its recent heavy losses after
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said it had weakened more
The currency, which has been an easy one-way bet for weeks
as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put intense pressure on the central
bank to take bold action to revive Japan's fragile economy, also
recovered from its recent 4-week trough against the Aussie, the
latter changing hands at 95.25 yen AUDJPY=R, compared with a
peak of 97.42 set on Tuesday.