Asian shares ease, consolidate recent gains

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 19, 2012 00:40 hrs

By Chikako Mogi

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares eased on Friday as markets consolidated gains from a three-day rally, while the euro remained underpinned by easing tension over the euro zone's debt crisis.

Global shares dipped on Thursday, with the U.S. market down on technology stocks, which took a hit from a surprisingly weak earnings result by the world's No.1 Internet search engine Google.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed at its highest since early July 2011 as investors bet Spain will soon request a bailout.

Concerns about a deepening slowdown in global growth also abated with China on Thursday reporting a slew of data which suggested stabilisation in the world's second largest economy, while in the United States, the world's top economy, data pointed to a slowly healing labour market and rising factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region during October.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> eased 0.3 percent, having risen 1 percent for a seven-month high, and posting its biggest daily gain in three weeks, on Thursday.

Australian shares <.AXJO> fell 0.4 percent, retreating from Thursday's 15-month high, and South Korean shares <.KS11> opened down 0.2 percent.

The risk-sensitive Australian dollar traded around $1.0371, after touching a near three-week high of $1.0412 overnight.

Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> opened down 0.4 percent, after jumping 2 percent to a three-week high on Thursday. <.T>

"The Kospi is likely to take a rest after the recent rises, as the U.S. markets did following Google's disappointing results," said Bae Sung-yung, an analyst at Hyundai Securities, referring to Korean equities.

European Union leaders struck a compromise on how to establish a single bank supervisor for the euro zone after Germany and France papered over differences on priorities for overcoming the bloc's debt crisis.

However, Germany and France provided a different interpretation on what was agreed among EU leaders at a summit.

A German source said the primary aim was to have a fully functioning supervisor under the European Central Bank before any direct recapitalisations of euro zone banks can begin, while a French source said the supervisory mechanism would begin in 2013 and that direct recapitalisation should be possible even from the first quarter of next year.

The EU summit continues through Friday, and currency traders said they will keep an eye on the event although no surprises were expected.


China GDP/exports:

Euro zone crisis:

Spanish debt/bond yields:

The euro was resilient, trading at $1.3070, sticking near a one-month high of $1.3140 hit on Wednesday. The single currency also held steady against the yen at 103.61 yen, having touched a five-month high of 104.13 overnight.

"The downside risk for the euro is looking increasingly weak and while it will likely remain in a recent broad range, momentum is gaining for the market to want to test its upside," said Hiroshi Maeba, head of FX trading Japan for UBS in Tokyo.

The euro has been supported by hopes highly-indebted Spain will ask for aid in coming weeks to help manage its public finances, triggering the ECB to start buying Spanish bonds to relieve the country's borrowing costs.

Ten-year Spanish bonds yields, which exceeded 7.6 percent in late July before the ECB promised to act, eased to a 6-1/2 month low of 5.35 percent on Thursday.

Spain's successful bond sale on Thursday reflected improving investor appetite towards the country following Moody's decision not to cut its credit rating to junk.

Italy, also mired in piles of debts, will reduce the amount of debt it issues until the end of the year, after breaking records with a bumper sale of its inflation-linked retail bond.

Diminishing risk aversion kept upward pressures on benchmark 10-year Treasury yields, which have risen to 1.83 percent on Thursday from 1.66 percent last Friday and were set for the biggest four-day gain since mid-March.

The dollar was nearly flat against the yen at 79.30 yen, off a two-month high of 79.47 yen hit on Thursday after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said its index of business conditions in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region rose in October, snapping five months of negative readings that pointed to contraction.

U.S. crude futures were steady at $92.05 a barrel while Brent inched up 0.1 percent to $112.53.

(Additional reporting by Somang Yang in Seoul; Editing by Michael Perry)

More from Sify: