GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares inch ahead, euro firm before ECB

Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:29pm EDT
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* MSCI Asia-Pacific index up 0.1 pct in early trade

* Euro holds ground with ECB not expected to act this week

* Commodities stay under pressure on China growth unease

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Asian shares eked out cautious gains on Wednesday as concerns about corporate earnings hobbled Wall Street while investors counted down to the European Central Bank's policy meeting later in the week.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was a fraction firmer. Japan's Nikkei added 0.8 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI rose 0.6 percent.

There was more evidence of the problems plaguing Asian trade flows with Japanese exports growing at the slowest pace since mid-2014, mainly due to weakness in China.

Wall Street offered little in the way of a lead with the Dow ending Tuesday 0.1 percent lower, while the S&P 500 eased 0.14 percent and the Nasdaq 0.5 percent.

The S&P healthcare sector shed 1.5 percent, dragged by Allergan and Pfizer, while a drop in IBM offset gains in companies that reported strong quarterly results such as Verizon and United Technologies.   Continued...