GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares lag behind Nikkei, euro firm for ECB

Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:39am EDT
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* MSCI Asia-Pacific index flat, Nikkei leads with 1.2 pct gain

* Commodities stay under pressure as Asia exports struggle

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

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Asian shares turned mixed on Wednesday as soft export data kept investors cautious ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting later in the week, though Japan's market was having a go at setting a new peak for the month.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dithered either side of flat with no clear trend evident across the region.

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.

That gap in demand was one reason copper prices slipped to two-week lows and the commodity-heavy Australian share index lost 0.6 percent.

Yet the Nikkei still managed to climb 1.2 percent and probe the October high around 14,438, in part on lingering speculation of more quantitative easing by the Bank of Japan.   Continued...