Euro hostage to ECB ability to surprise, China a distraction

Thu Jun 5, 2014 2:16am EDT
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By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian share markets grudgingly gave ground on Thursday while the euro flatlined at $1.3600, hostage to great expectations that the European Central Bank will finally end months of dithering by easing policy further.

Dealers were only briefly distracted by HSBC/Markit's measure of the China service sector which dipped to 50.7 in May from April's 51.4, though that was still above the 50-point level that is supposed to separate growth from contraction.

There was better news from Germany which reported industrial orders rebounded by 3.1 percent in April, well above expectations.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 shed early gains to end 0.08 percent higher at 15,079, failing to extend a two-week rally to test the April top of 15,164.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS dipped 0.05 percent, while South Korea's market lost 0.65 percent.

Financial spreadbetters expected flat starts for Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE, Germany's DAX .GDAXI and France's CAC 40 .FCHI.

Wall Street had been just as hesitant with the Dow .DJI ending up 0.09 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.19 percent and the Nasdaq .IXIC 0.41 percent.

The economic outlook was no clearer after a mixed bag of U.S. data that included disappointing results on the trade deficit and private employment, but better news on the service sector. TOP/CEN   Continued...

Pedestrians walk past an electronic board showing the graph of the recent movement of Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo May 13, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino