4 Min Read
* European shares rise, shrug off Asia weakness
* Asia hit by unexpected weakness in China services PMI
* Euro falls after subdued services activity data
By Emelia Sithole-Matarise
LONDON, Aug 5 (Reuters) - European shares eked out gains on Tuesday driven by upbeat earnings from a number of blue-chip companies, while the euro fell to the day's low after a broadly disappointing set of services activity data.
Investors were cheered by strong results from German luxury carmaker BMW and France's third biggest listed bank Credit Agricole, among others, enabling European equities to buck the trend in Asian markets which were hit by weak Chinese data.
But the gains appeared fragile ahead of a U.S. survey that could cast fresh light on the pace of recovery in the world's biggest economy.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of blue-chips was up 0.5 percent at 1,333.78, a small recovery from its near 4 percent fall over the past two weeks.
The index has been pummelled by concerns about a tightening of U.S. monetary policy, financial trouble at BES and political tensions, notably in Ukraine and Gaza.
With all these concerns still present in the market, traders said the downtrend may resume shortly.
"Nothing has materially changed since last week," Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said. "The down-move may have stalled and some markets have had a modest uptick, but traders are already framing this as a textbook dead cat bounce."
Asian shares fell after the China services purchasing managers' index (PMI) compiled by HSBC/Markit fell to 50.0 in July from a 15-month high of 53.1 in June.
It was the lowest reading since November 2005 when the data collection began, indicating a recovery in the broader economy is still fragile and may need further government support.
The euro fell to $1.3395 after subdued services PMI data from the euro zone, with initial declines sparked by the reading from Italy's Markit/ADACI Business activity index. The print eased to 52.8 in July from 53.9 in June. Economists in a Reuters poll had expected 54.0.
The broad euro zone PMI figure of 54.2 came in slightly below expectations.
"It (the euro) certainly has reacted negatively to the Italian numbers," said Neil Mellor, a currency strategist with Bank of New York Mellon in London.
"On the main numbers even 54 is not exactly a figure that sets the world alight. It returns us to what we've been seeing for a few weeks now - that the momentum in Europe is faltering."
Focus was now on the corresponding U.S. survey due later in the day and expected to show a robust reading.
The dollar held below a 10-1/2-month peak against a basket of currencies and was little changed at 102.495 yen , well below the four-month peak of 103.15 hit last week.
The greenback was capped by a fall in Treasury yields overnight after weaker-than-expected U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday knocked it off the 103 threshold.
Treasury yields fell as the bond market retained its bullish tone after rallying Friday on the jobs report.
In commodities, Brent held steady above $105 a barrel despite ample supplies, underpinned by political tension in the Middle East and North Africa and expectations that data will show a further draw on U.S. crude inventories last week.
Brent crude rose for the second straight session, climbing 14 cents to $105.55 after gaining 57 cents on Monday. (Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa and Patrick Graham, editing by John Stonestreet)