Asia offers muted applause for ECB, euro firm before U.S. jobs

Fri Jun 6, 2014 2:28am EDT
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By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian markets turned mixed on Friday as investors offered only polite applause for the European Central Bank's latest stimulus package, while the euro became an unlikely star following a sharp short-covering rally.

Trading was hesitant as attention quickly shifted to the U.S. payrolls report due later on Friday where the outcome is considered even more uncertain than usual.

While the median forecast is for a solid jobs gain of 218,000, estimates range from a little as 110,000 to as high as 325,000. ECONUS

The ECB action provided enough of a boost to risk sentiment to generate a 0.3 percent lift in MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS.

"From a broader perspective, the ECB's latest easing measures are important," said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC.

"They underline our call that global liquidity should remain highly accommodative for emerging markets and Asia in particular for the foreseeable future."

Japan's Nikkei .N225 went flat after again shying away from testing April's peak at 15,164. Speculation that more government pension funds will flow into the market helped sentiment somewhat.

Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE to open up 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX .GDAXI to gain as much as 0.4 percent and France's <CAC 40> also 0.4 percent.   Continued...

Pedestrians walk past an electronic board showing the graph of the recent fluctuations of Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage  in Tokyo June 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Yuya Shino