* MSCI Asia ex-Japan rises 0.5 pct, Nikkei drops 0.9 pct
* Euro, Aussie steady off lows
* IMF cuts global growth forecast, warns U.S., Europe
* Oil jumps on supply concerns as Middle East tension mounts
* European shares rise
By Chikako Mogi
TOKYO, Oct 9 Asian shares rose on Tuesday but
gains were moderated by concerns over global growth prospects,
especially in the world's second-biggest economy China, and
expected weak U.S. corporate earnings.
The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
added 0.5 percent, pulled higher by Hong Kong
and China shares which rose 1.1 percent and 2 percent
, respectively, on hopes of more steps to support the
market from Beijing.
European shares are expected to gain as well, with a 0.2
percent rise in U.S. stock futures suggesting a solid
start on Wall Street. Financial spreadbetters expected London's
FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX
to open as much as 0.5 percent higher.
"Asian equities markets are feeling the positive effects
from the recent global easing, prompting investors to buy the
region's stocks which have remained undervalued," said Hirokazu
Yuihama, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.
"Weak third-quarter corporate earnings, as well as a
slowdown in the Chinese growth rate to below or around 8 percent
have already been noted in various reports - reasons why further
monetary easing took place. But the outlook for sluggish
fundamentals will likely limit the markets' upside."
Australian shares rose 0.6 percent to a fresh
14-month high, as a jump in iron ore prices
lifted miners and helped offset concerns about global economic
The International Monetary Fund cut its global growth
forecast on Tuesday to a 3.3 percent expansion for 2012, down
from its July estimate of 3.5 percent, making it the slowest
year of growth since 2009. It warned U.S. and European
policymakers that failure to fix their economic ills would
prolong the slump.
The IMF's World Economic Outlook preceded its twice-yearly
meeting scheduled in Tokyo later this week, and followed a
similarly grim report from the World Bank, which on Monday cut
forecasts for the East Asia and Pacific region.
"A lot of investors are underweight China in their
portfolios so any talk on QFII is likely to encourage them to
start getting involved again," said Tom Kaan, a director at
Louis Capital Markets in Hong Kong, referring to quotas for
offshore investors to directly access China's domestic markets.
Tokyo's Nikkei stock average bucked the trend with a
0.9 percent slide on concerns about earnings. The Japanese
corporate earnings season begins later in the month while the
U.S. third-quarter corporate earnings reporting season starts on
Oil prices jumped, with U.S. crude oil futures rising
$1 to $90.33 while Brent climbed towards $113.
"Right now the market is concerned about the continuing
conflict between Syria and Turkey, and the worry is that if it
escalates, it may disrupt Brent supplies," said Ker Chung Yang,
senior investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
London copper rose 0.6 percent to $8,230 a tonne.
EURO, AUSSIE LIFTED
A recovery in equities pulled riskier currencies higher.
The euro inched up 0.1 percent to $1.2985 and the
risk-sensitive and commodity-related Australian dollar
gained 0.4 percent to $1.0224, off Monday's three-month low of
Uncertainty over whether Spain will request external aid to
help streamline its huge public debt remained after euro zone
finance ministers met on Monday to discuss issues related to the
region's debt crisis, including what needs to be done to
establish a single supervisory authority for euro zone banks.
The finance ministers launched their permanent 500 billion
euro bailout fund on Monday but said Spain, the country widely
expected to be first to draw on it, was taking steps to overhaul
its economy and did not need a bailout for now.
"Markets look as if they are tiring of the current stand off
between Spain and Europe on the details of bailouts etc ... This
may start to drag more on equity/commodity markets in the
sessions ahead," Westpac Institutional Bank said in a research
note. The European Central Bank's new programme to buy bonds of
struggling euro zone states, aimed at reducing their borrowing
costs, is conditional on the countries asking for help.
Greece, which was the focus of market jitters before Spain,
said international lenders are considering giving the country
two more years to reach its budget deficit reduction targets,
and the extra time could be financed without more money from the
Investors have preferred buying higher-yielding credit
products with growth prospects than equities, and may eye the
Philippines, Asia's largest issuer of sovereign debt in the
global market, which is set to return this month with a $1
billion global peso note offer.
Asian credit markets steadied, with the spread on the iTraxx
Asia ex-Japan investment-grade index marginally
wider by 1 basis point.