By Chikako Mogi
TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares inched higher and the dollar steadied on Thursday, as a pick-up in Chinese factory activity and a commitment by the U.S. Federal Reserve to its aggressive stimulus stance soothed sentiment rattled by wrangling over a bailout plan for Cyprus.
European markets, however, were expected to ease as investors await negotiations over the Cyprus deal, with financial spreadbetters predicting London's FTSE 100 (.FTSE), Paris's CAC-40 (.FCHI) and Frankfurt's DAX (.GDAXI) to open down as much as 0.2 percent.
Benchmark indices in Spain (.IBEX) and Italy (.FTMIB) were seen to open 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent lower respectively. U.S. stock futures were little changed, hinting at a calm Wall Street start. (.L)(.EU) (.N)
The HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index for China revived to 51.7 in March from 50.4 in February, pointing towards solid but not spectacular first-quarter growth in the world's second-largest economy.
"China's growth at 10 percent is amazing, growth at 8 percent is quite strong, but China growth at 6 percent is still a lot better than any other deve