Asian shares muted, currencies in well-worn ranges

Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:52pm EDT
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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 .MIAPJ0000PUS was just a fraction firmer.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 eased 0.6 percent while South Korea .KS11 added 0.3 percent.

Likewise, Wall Street had barely budged with the Dow .DJI off 0.06 percent and the S&P 500 .SPX 0.01 percent, while the Nasdaq .IXIC added 0.01 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 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 May's 53.5. TOP/CEN

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 annualized pace.   Continued...

Pedestrians standing in front of an electronic board displaying various stock prices outside a brokerage are reflected in a polished stone surface, in Tokyo October 23, 2013.  REUTERS/Yuya Shino