Asian shares softer before US jobs data, US$ steady (Update)

TOKYO: Asian shares pulled backed from a five-month high and the dollar stabilized after recent heavy losses as markets waited for U.S. jobs data that could shape expectations as to whether the Federal Reserve will start withdrawing stimulus this year.

Investors were expected to be reluctant to make aggressive bets after U.S. stocks ended little changed, partly on concerns that equities have become overpriced after the S&P 500 <.SPX> index's run to record highs last week. <.N>

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> eased 0.3 percent, dropping from a five-month peak. Technical charts indicated it remained in "overbought" territory, indicating there could be a further retreat.

Tokyo's Nikkei share average <.N225> dipped 0.2 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 <.AXJO> gained 0.3 percent, hitting a five-year high for a third day in a row and putting it on track for a sixth day of gains, which would be its longest such run since July.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect U.S. nonfarm payrolls to have increased by 180,000 in September, with the jobless rate steady at 7.3 percent. The data's release has been delayed from October 4 by the 16-day U.S. government shutdown.

Many analysts expect the U.S. central bank to maintain its quantitative easing (QE) given the as yet unknown economic impact of the shutdown and the possibility of another bitter budget fight early next year, although a strong employment report could challenge that thinking.

"The common view in the market is that U.S. is essentially trapped in QE," said Perth-based Andrew Quin, research strategy coordinator at Patersons Securities.

"So at least until new debt ceiling negotiations get agreed probably in February, we doubt they are going to do too much with QE between then and now."

A senior Fed official said it would be "tough" for the Fed to have sufficient confidence in the strength of the U.S. recovery by its meeting in December to start reducing its $85 billion-per-month bond-buying program.


The dollar was at $1.3666 to the euro, off an eight-month low of $1.3704 marked on Friday, and was holding largely steady at 98.28 yen after bouncing 0.4 percent in the previous session.

Against a basket of major currencies, the dollar <.DXY> inched up 0.1 percent.

"A (jobs) reading anywhere in the 160,000 to 190,000 range would probably be fairly neutral with respect to near-term U.S. dollar direction given the data pre-dates any impact from the October shutdown," analysts from BNP Paribas wrote in a note

"We remain short euro/dollar and sterling/dollar heading into the release, looking for gradual improvement in U.S. data and dovish messaging from European policy makers to revive the policy divergence theme which benefited the dollar in the second quarter," they added.

U.S. crude prices dipped 0.2 percent to about $99 a barrel, hitting a near four-month low and adding to the previous session's 1.6 percent decline.

Gold was little changed at around $1,313.9 an ounce.

- Reuters

Earlier Report:

BANGKOK: Thai stocks dropped 2.4 percent on Monday, their biggest one-day loss in a month, on selling by institutional investors, while most others in Southeast Asia posted modest gains as investors looked ahead to a deluge of U.S. data for clues to the Federal Reserve's stimulus tapering.

   Malaysia's main index edged up 0.2 percent as the market brought in 15 million ringgit ($4.75 million) of foreign inflows

    Late selloffs sent the Thai SET index to its lowest
close in nearly two weeks, with True Corp leading the
fall after a 6.6 percent drop. True Corp shares were the most
actively traded on the exchange.
    Banking shares were hit hard after a rally last week which
was boosted by favourable quarterly results. Large-cap
Kasikornbank Pcl slid 3.6 percent after block trades
at lower than market prices.
    Domestic institutions sold a net 4 billion baht ($129
million) in Thai shares, while foreign investors bought a net
1.1 billion baht ($35.4 million), a third straight session of
buying, data from the stock exchange showed.
    Fund flows were mixed across the region.
    Malaysia's main index edged up 0.2 percent as the
market brought in 15 million ringgit ($4.75 million) of foreign
inflows, while Indonesia's benchmark index gained 0.7
percent, led by shares of cigarette firm Gudang Garam

    The Jakarta bourse saw net foreign selling of 36,222 million
rupiah ($3.20 million), Thomson Reuters data showed.
 Change on day
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   420.77        423.53       -0.65
 Singapore          3195.76       3192.90       +0.09
 Kuala Lumpur       1802.61       1799.59       +0.17
 Bangkok            1448.54       1484.72       -2.44
 Jakarta            4578.18       4546.57       +0.70
 Manila             6597.56       6607.83       -0.16
 Ho Chi Minh         501.57        500.83       +0.15
 Change on year
 Market             Current     End prev yr    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   420.77        424.10       -0.79
 Singapore          3195.76       3167.08       +0.91
 Kuala Lumpur       1802.61       1688.95       +6.73
 Bangkok            1448.54       1391.93       +4.07
 Jakarta            4578.18       4316.69       +6.06
 Manila             6597.56       5812.73      +13.50
 Ho Chi Minh         501.57        413.73      +21.23
* The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index               is a
highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
 Stock Market Volume (shares)
 Market          Current Volume    Average Volume 30 days
 Singapore         274,733,300          209,590,012      
 Kuala Lumpur      107,015,100          127,716,720      
 Bangkok             8,829,481            9,119,146      
 Jakarta         4,002,371,000        4,031,190,750    
 Manila                 97,633               92,479    
 Ho Chi Minh           112,334               57,100- Reuters

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