* Asia share markets mixed after very muted Wall St finish
* Manufacturing improves in US, China and Japan, but Europe
* Dollar sidelined, commodity-linked currencies fare better
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, June 24 Asian shares were subdued on
Tuesday while major currencies kept to recent snug ranges after
a surprisingly soft reading on euro zone manufacturing took the
shine off better data from China, Japan and the United States.
Moves were marginal as markets slipped into something of a
summer lull and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan was just a fraction firmer.
Japan's Nikkei eased 0.6 percent while South Korea
added 0.3 percent.
Likewise, Wall Street had barely budged with the Dow
off 0.06 percent and the S&P 500 0.01 percent, while the
Nasdaq added 0.01 percent.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European
shares had lost 0.48 percent after Markit's Composite Purchasing
Managers' Index (PMI) unexpectedly fell to 52.8 in June from
The PMI surveys of manufacturing tend to be reliable, and
timely, leading indicators of output trends and are closely
watched by economists.
So there was relief that readings from the United States,
China and Japan all rose strongly in the month. The U.S. PMI was
a particularly pleasant surprise as it climbed to a four-year
peak of 57.5.
David Hensley, an economist at JPMorgan, said the PMI's
taken as a whole pointed to a quickening in global industrial
output, perhaps to as much as a 5 percent annualised pace.
"Emerging Asia lies at the centre of global manufacturing,
so any acceleration in global activity normally would be
confirmed there," he added.
"The continued recovery in China's manufacturing PMI is a
positive sign, both outright and because China's survey
typically is aligned with the broader EM complex. The trend in
official data for EM Asia ex China remains murky, however."
The disappointing euro zone PMI's weighed on the euro, while
the better Chinese data boosted the Australian dollar given the
country's close trade ties.
The euro was flat at $1.3600 while the Aussie was up
at $0.9423 having touched a three-month peak overnight.
Against the yen, the common currency stood at 138.60,
while the dollar fetched 101.87.
That left the dollar index little changed at 80.271,
well within 80.000-81.000 seen since May.
The economic diary is bare for much of Asia on Tuesday
though Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should detail more of
his so-called "Third Arrow" policies including phased corporate
tax cuts, public pension reforms and proposed dance hall
Given that many have already been leaked or announced by
officials, the risk is that the measures are likely to receive a
lukewarm response from investors. Still, the market will be keen
to see how they are fleshed out and implemented.
In commodity markets, gold was underpinned by geopolitical
tensions amid the increasing violence in Iraq, while platinum
eased as South African miners' union declared an official end to
a five-month strike.
Spot gold was sitting tight at $1,315.00 an ounce as
the market consolidated last week's 3 percent jump.
Brent crude edged back from nine-month highs as concerns
waned that a Sunni Islamist insurgency in Iraq would cut the
country's oil exports.
Brent fell 40 cents to $113.72 a barrel and U.S.
crude for August delivery shed 55 cents to $105.62.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)