* MSCI Asia ex-Japan inches up 0.1 pct
* Oil falls as super storm Sandy reduces demand in U.S.
* BOJ eases, yen hits day's high vs dollar, Nikkei falls 1
* US stock, bond markets closed Tuesday due to storm
* European shares likely to fall
By Chikako Mogi
TOKYO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Asian shares rose modestly but
momentum was curbed by a giant, powerful storm that will keep
U.S. markets shut, while the dollar slid to an intraday low
against the yen after the Bank of Japan unveiled further easing
The most notable market impact from Sandy, one of the
biggest storms ever to hit the United States, appeared to be
felt in oil prices, which fell as forced closure of refineries
reduced demand in the world's largest oil consumer.
Sandy pounded a dozen states from mid-Atlantic beaches to
the Canadian border with wind and rain, bringing transportation
to a halt, interrupting the presidential campaign and flooding
the streets of New York City.
U.S. power company Exelon Corp on Monday declared an
"alert" at its New Jersey Oyster Creek nuclear power reactor
plant due to the storm, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
said. The alert is the second lowest of four NRC action levels.
"People can't go out, they can't use, they can't consume,"
said Jonathan Barratt, chief executive of Barratt's Bulletin, a
Sydney-based commodity research firm. "Crude inventories are
running pretty high, 11-12 percent above a 5-year average."
U.S. crude futures slipped to just above $85 a barrel
on Tuesday, near the lowest in more than three months, while
Brent crude dropped below $109 as investors watched for
any impact on markets from Sandy.
U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed again on Tuesday.
European shares will likely fall, with financial
spreadbetters expecting London's FTSE 100, Paris's
CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX to open down about
0.3 percent. U.S. stock futures were down 0.6
The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was up 0.1 percent on a see-saw day during which
it touched a fresh two-week low. Seoul and Taiwan equities led
Taiwan stocks climbed 1.3 percent, pulled higher by
LCD and computer makers following positive earnings news, while
South Korean shares closed up 0.4 percent after a fall
below a key level spurred bargain hunters.
But Hong Kong shares dropped 0.7 percent, led by
local developers on fears that new home-purchase restrictions
will hurt demand. Shanghai shares were flat.
Japan's Nikkei average, up early in the day, turned
negative and fell 1 percent to a two-week closing low, dragged
down by the BOJ's easing announcement.
The yen jumped to the day's high against the dollar of
79.275 yen from around 79.93 before the BOJ decision,
driven by an unwinding of positions built on excessive
expectations for the BOJ, traders said.
The BOJ's move was largely in line with expectations,
increasing its asset purchase scheme by 11 trillion yen ($138
billion) including 1 trillion yen in risk assets such as
exchange-traded funds (ETF).
The weakness of the Japanese economy will likely keep the
yen's underlying bear trend intact.
Data on Tuesday underscored the risk that the world's
third-largest economy may slip into a mild recession.
Japanese household spending unexpectedly fell 0.9 percent in
September from a year earlier, while industrial output plunged
4.1 percent in September from August, marking the biggest drop
since the aftermath of last year's earthquake.
CHINA, INDIA IN FOCUS
Hong Kong-listed and Asia-focused Standard Chartered
said in a third quarter trading update on Tuesday its
operating profit so far this year rose by a mid-single digit
rate, putting it on track for a 10th straight year of record
More in line with a global trend of weaker corporate
results, Baidu Inc, China's largest search engine
company, posted its slowest quarterly revenue growth in over two
years. It forecast softer-than-expected growth this quarter,
hurt by weaker sales as China's economic engine loses steam.
The world's largest money manager, BlackRock Inc,
downplayed the impact of Europe's financial woes on commodities
markets on Tuesday, and said robust Chinese demand and an
improving U.S. economy will support growth. China is Australia's
largest export market.
India's central bank left interest rates unchanged on
Tuesday but cut the cash reserve ratio for banks and hinted at
further easing in the January-March quarter, although inflation
remains a near-term concern. The bank had faced growing
expectations for a rate cut after India's finance minister
pledged to rein in the country's fiscal deficit.
India's main stock index turned negative and
deepened losses to slide 0.8 percent after the decision, while
the Indian rupee weakened against the dollar after the
central bank decision.
The euro eased 0.1 percent to $1.2890, capped by
political jitters in debt-laden Italy and the uncertain bailout
outlook for struggling Spain and Greece.
Asian credit markets were lacklustre, with the spread on the
iTraxx Asia ex-Japan investment-grade index wider
by 2 basis points.