GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. vote in focus, euro slips on Greece
* European, world shares edge up ahead of U.S. election * Dollar index near two-month high * Greece worries push euro to two-month lows vs dollar By Marc Jones LONDON, Nov 6 (Reuters) - European equities edged higher on Tuesday helped by stronger travel and technology stocks but no major moves were expected until investors know the result of the U.S. presidential vote. Uncertainty over Greece's next aid payment and gloomy euro zone economic data pushed the euro to a new two-month low. Polls indicate the election between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will be close and the uncertainty put markets in a cautious mood. "Everybody is waiting on the U.S. election, people are waiting on (leadership transition) China and also on what happens in Greece where it is incredibly important that it gets this new money," said ABN Amro economist Aline Schuiling. China's new leadership team will be unveiled this month As U.S. voting got under way, stock index futures pointed to a higher Wall Street open, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 indicated up 0.2 percent ahead of the opening bell. World stocks on the MSCI global index were up 0.2 percent by 1300 GMT and top European shares were up 0.4 percent as both clawed back some of Monday's falls. European technology shares were the top sectoral gainers, led by buying of chip designer ARM. Travel and leisure stocks also advanced 0.9 percent as InterContinental Hotels said it was looking to sell one of its top New York hotels. In currency markets the euro fell to a two-month low of $1.27635, versus the dollar before some early afternoon buying reeled it back up above $1.2800. The Greek parliament will vote on Wednesday on 13.5 billion euros of fresh spending cuts and tax hikes that are crucial to unlocking 31.5 billion euros in aid from an IMF and EU bailout that has been on hold for months. "We are seeing investors getting disillusioned about the euro zone, the positive factor from the ECB's plan to buy bonds is fading and that is fundamentally weighing on the euro," said Neil Mellor, currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon. "There isn't much progress on when Spain will seek a bailout and now we have the Greek vote. Suffice to say if the vote fails, the euro will drop and the dollar will rally, but even if the vote passes, any rally in the euro will be short-lived." DATA WOES Data from Europe was also weighing on the euro. The European Central Bank and the Bank of England both meet on Thursday. Neither is expected to cut rates or provide further policy stimulus although Tuesday's data may cause concern. Purchasing managers data (PMIs), which gauges the activity of thousands of companies worldwide, showed euro zone businesses endured their worst month in October since June 2009, with little hope of a turnaround. The euro zone relies heavily on Germany, its largest economy, to generate growth. Business activity there shrank at a faster pace last month and new data showed industrial orders in September plummeted more swiftly than expected. In Britain, retail sales slowed rapidly, industrial production fell 1.7 percent month-on-month and a fall in house prices accelerated. . "Given the stabilisation in financial markets, and in consumer sentiment indicators in some countries, we thought perhaps you would see some stabilisation in the (euro zone) PMIs," said HSBC economist Janet Henry. FISCAL CLIFF After the election, the U.S. Congress must deal with a "fiscal cliff" of up to $600 billion in expiring tax and spending reductions that could damage the world's most powerful economy. U.S. Treasuries were range-bound in early U.S. trading as investors refrained from placing big bets. In European markets, German government bonds were also steady. "There doesn't seem to be massive positioning either way before the election," said one London-based bond trader. "The feeling is that if Obama wins, it's going to be fairly dovish from the Fed point of view but I'm not sure we're going to see major moves either way," he said. Risk-aversion kept the dollar near a two-month high against a basket of major currencies. Oil and gold prices were both little changed, with Brent oil in a tight range at just under $108 a barrel and gold creeping up to $1,691.46 an ounce as it stabilised near a two-month low in the previous session. In Asian trading, the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ended the day up 0.5 percent despite a 0.4 percent dip by Japan's Nikkei. In Australia the Aussie dollar hit a five week high and shares rose 0.2 percent after the country's central bank surprised by keeping rates on hold.
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