* European shares seen opening mixed
* MSCI Asia ex-Japan up 0.7 pct
* Nikkei up 1.2 pct, clears 9,000 for 1st time in two weeks
* China PMI reassures, but Asia's factory activity slowed in
By Richard Pullin
MELBOURNE, Sept 1 Asian stocks rose to a
one-month high on Thursday, but pared gains late in the session
on signals that European markets would not open firmly up on an
uncertain global growth outlook that led Brazil to unexpectedly
slash interest rates.
U.S. stocks futures SPc1 were up just 0.15 percent in late
Asian trade, suggesting market caution ahead of the
manufacturing and jobs data which may give clues as to whether
the U.S. Federal Reserve will step in to support the economy.
Global shares have risen sharply in recent days, rebounding
from heavy losses in August as signs of a weakening economy have
led to speculation the Fed will introduce a new round of
Asian stocks were buoyed by a series of surveys showing that
China managed modest improvement in factory activity in August
thanks to solid domestic demand, despite a slump in export
activity that has hit many major Asian markets.
"The China PMI data gave some immediate relief to the
market, but the U.S. data, particularly the employment numbers,
are still to come," said Yutaka Shiraki, senior equity
strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
Brazil shocked investors by cutting its key interest rate to
12 percent from 12.5 percent on Wednesday, citing concern over
the global slowdown as well as weaker growth in Latin America's
EUROPE SEEN MIXED
European shares rose on Wednesday as the pan-European
FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares closed up 2.9
percent, but still fell 10.6 percent during August -- its worst
monthly performance since October 2008, just after the Lehman
However, major European markets were seen opening mixed,
according to financial spreadbetters, with Britain's FTSE 100
set to open between 8 points down and 2 points up.
The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index was up
0.7 percent in late trade, having been up 1.4 percent early in
In Japan, the Nikkei gained closed up 1.2 percent,
clearing the key 9,000 level for the first time in two weeks,
while South Korea's KOSPI also shed gains late in the
day to be up only 0.1 percent as economic data showing the
country's manufacturing sector shrank in August for the first
time in 10 months.
China's official PMI offered some reassurance about the pace
of growth, rising on Thursday to 50.9 in August from a 28-month
low of 50.7 in July and signalling some stabilisation in the
manufacturing sector on solid domestic demand.
However, the result was just below expectations and the
sub-index for new export orders dipped to 48.3 from 50.4,
curbing gains in mining stocks.
U.S. economic data on Wednesday showed the economy continues
to struggle, and the U.S. Institute for Supply Management's
national manufacturing index was due later on Thursday, followed
by the U.S. Labour Department's employment report on Friday.
Fears that the ISM index may fall below 50 have been eased
by a brighter than expected reading of manufacturing activity in
the Chicago area released on Wednesday.
Also on Thursday, the White House will release its delayed
midsession budget review, updating projections for the U.S.
economy ahead of a congressional review to lower the deficit by
$1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Among currencies, the yen fell across the board after dollar
buying by Japanese accounts lifted it above 77 yen , while
the Australian dollar gained broadly as retail sales and capital
spending data beat expectations,
The Swiss franc held on to gains scored the previous day
after a top government official said Switzerland would have to
live with a strong currency, to stand at 0.8065 francs per
The euro last traded at $1.4373 , off a two-month high
at $1.4550 hit at the start of the week on worries over how the
fragmented currency bloc will deal with its debt crisis.
Brent crude rose to a one-month high above $115 after
China's manufacturing rebounded, stoking expectations for growth
in the world's largest energy consumer.
But the fall in China's export orders helped push LME copper
down 0.7 percent. Spot gold was little changed at
1,8224.00 an ounce.
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(Editing by Richard Borsuk)