* Chinese shares outperform region, euro struggles
* RBI cuts rates but warns little room to ease further
* Japanese markets closed for holiday, U.S. payrolls next in
By Ian Chua
SYDNEY, May 3 Asian shares rose on Friday on
hopes of a stronger global economic recovery after the European
Central Bank cut interest rates and held out the possibility of
further easing while the euro remained in the doldrums.
Chinese shares outperformed their peers in the region after
a report in state media spurred hopes of greater foreign
involvement in mainland markets.
Trading for the rest of the region was subdued with Japan
closed for holidays.
Investors were also reluctant to take aggressive positions
in the leadup to a U.S. non-farm payrolls report later in the
day. That caution is expected to see European stocks get off to
a lacklustre start. U.S. stock index futures were flat as
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
rose 0.2 percent, on track to end the week up
just over 1 percent.
"The ECB's action comes as a sign governments are determined
to tackle the economic issues. This points to further stimulus
measures and it is positive for sentiment," said Lee Jae-hun, a
market analyst at Mirae Asset Securities.
Chinese stocks advanced about 2 percent, while
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 0.2 percent.
The official Shanghai Securities News reported on Friday
that new technical regulations rolled out by the Chinese central
bank late on Thursday suggest that renminbi qualified foreign
institutional investors (RQFII) quota approvals may be resumed
after a two-month suspension.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 0.1 percent
after earlier gaining more than 1 percent as a rally in bank
Bucking the region's positive trend, Indian stocks fell as
the Reserve Bank of India warned there is little room to ease
further after delivering an expected quarter point cut. The
country's main share index shed 0.2 percent.
In contrast, the ECB on Thursday cut its main benchmark
interest rate by a quarter point to a record 0.5 percent and ECB
President Mario Draghi said the bank was ready to ease further
EURO UNDER PRESSURE
That dealt a blow to the euro as investors looked elsewhere
for better returns. The common currency, which skidded nearly 1
percent on Thursday, struggled at $1.3070, little changed
on the day.
Against the yen, it hovered just above 128.00,
having retreated from a 3-year peak around 131.10 set last
The ECB's decision came a day after the Federal Reserve
recommitted to its aggressive stimulus programme and a month
after the Bank of Japan stunned markets by promising to inject
about $1.4 trillion into the economy to spur growth.
Commodity prices were mixed after a broad-based rebound on
Thursday, with U.S. crude drifting 0.3 percent lower to
$93.70 per barrel. This followed a 3-percent rally on Thursday.
Copper, however, extended gains and popped back above the
$7,000-a-tonne price critical to market bulls. It rose 2.4
percent to $7,015.00, continuing to recoup a chunk of
what it lost earlier in the week.