* MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan up 0.3 pct, Nikkei flat
* European indexes seen down 0.3-0.4 pct, U.S. futures up
* Euro up 0.1 pct around $1.2717, off 2-month low
* Brent crude flat around $108.25 a barrel
By Alex Richardson
SINGAPORE, Nov 14 Asian stocks edged up on
Wednesday but global equities lacked the impetus for a decisive
rebound, with European shares set to fall as investors continue
to fret over the United States' looming "fiscal cliff" and the
euro zone's intractable crisis.
The euro steadied, having spent much of November in retreat,
while worries about the U.S. economy, together with the prospect
of weaker demand from a slowing China, weighed on industrial
commodities such as oil and copper.
Since the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama,
markets have been focusing attention on how a divided Washington
will tackle the series of mandated tax hikes and spending cuts
that start to take effect next year and could pitch the world's
largest economy back into recession.
"The United States cannot afford not to resolve it, so there
might be an 11th hour agreement," said Ben Le Brun, a market
analyst at OptionsXpress. "Till then, there will be a lot of
uncertainty and that will weigh on markets."
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan
rose 0.4 percent after falling to a seven-week
low in the previous session, and Tokyo's Nikkei closed a
few points higher after seven straight days in the red.
Major European markets were seen losing ground after closing
flat or slightly higher on Tuesday. Financial spreadbetters
called London's FTSE 100, Frankfurt's DAX and
Paris's CAC-40 to open down 0.3-0.4 percent.
U.S. stock index futures gained 0.4 percent after a
decline in Wall Street shares in Tuesday's session, led by a
slide of more than 3 percent for Microsoft following
the surprise departure of a key executive.
After the U.S. closing bell, Cisco Systems shares
rose 6.8 percent to $18 after it reported quarterly revenue and
earnings that beat analysts' estimates.
GREEK BAILOUT DEAL
Weak German business confidence data on Tuesday offered more
evidence that the pain from the euro zone debt crisis is
spreading even to the bloc's strongest economies, knocking the
euro down to its lowest level in more than two months.
The euro rose 0.1 percent to around $1.2717 on
Wednesday and climbed around 0.3 percent against the yen.
The single currency has fallen nearly 2 percent against the
dollar and more than 1.5 percent against the yen in November as
concerns about Greece and Spain have pushed investors towards
the safe-haven U.S. and Japanese currencies.
Greece's international lenders on Monday gave the country
more time to fix its budget, though they did not disburse the
aid Greece had hoped to use to refinance 5 billion euros of its
debt by Friday.
The International Monetary Fund and euro zone policymakers
remain at odds over a long-term target to bring Greece's debt
down and the IMF's push for the euro zone to take further losses
on Greek debt.
"For the moment, the market's focus is on whether they can
decide on a deal for Greece next week," said Teppei Ino,
currency analyst at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
Both sides in the U.S. "fiscal cliff" debate stood their
ground on Tuesday as they gathered in Washington for the first
time since the election, with a fundamental tax dispute
preventing a broader compromise on deficit reduction.
Uncertainty since the election about the outcome of the
negotiations has stoked demand for the safety of U.S.
Treasuries, with the benchmark 10-year yield trading
around 1.60 percent on Wednesday, close to a two-month low.
"I expect they will reach a stop-gap measure at the very
last minute, as they did at the time of negotiation on the debt
ceiling," said a fund manager at a U.S. asset management firm.
"At the moment, the market is becoming risk-off but I think
the concerns will fade and the Treasury yield could test a high
of 1.80 percent."
Commodity markets were subdued, with Brent crude
flat near $108.25 a barrel and U.S. crude up a few cents
"Concerns over the Greek debt situation and U.S. fiscal
cliff continue to weigh on global demand prospects," analysts at
ANZ said in a report. "Coupled with the IEA suggesting Iran's
production and exports had rebounded in October and the market
is well supplied, the outlook appears to be bearish."
Copper was also flat just below $7,680 a tonne, but
gold inched up, gaining 0.2 percent to trade around $1,728.50 an