GLOBAL MARKETS-Record high on Wall Street lifts Asian spirits

Reuters

* Asian stocks up in early trade, Australia up 0.8 pct

* Yen broadly softer as risk appetite improves

* Upbeat earnings from Microsoft, Amazon.com drive Wall Stto record high

By Ian Chua

SYDNEY, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Asian stocks got off to anencouraging start on Monday after strong results from the likesof Microsoft drove Wall Street to another record closing high,while the safe-haven yen slipped in thin early trade.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3 percent, steadying after last week's1.1 percent slide -- the biggest in two months -- on concernsthat China may tighten policy to keep prices under control.

Australia's stock market climbed 0.8 percent in early deals,with major banks including ANZ and NAB amonggainers ahead of their results this week.

"Trade today should see risk firmly switched on," said EvanLucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne. "The banks shouldcontinue to rally into their results and the mining space shouldshift higher on optimism over the official Chinese PMI data onFriday."

The U.S. S&P 500 index rose 0.4 percent to anall-time closing high on Friday. Upbeat earnings news fromMicrosoft and Amazon.com helped spark a rallyin U.S. technology shares and should also help lift their Asianpeers.

But traders do not expect fireworks in Asia, with someinvestors keeping a wary eye on China as Beijing attempts tocool property prices and inflation.

In the currency markets, the yen was under a bit ofpressure. The dollar rose 0.1 percent to 97.51 yen, whilethe euro gained 0.2 percent to 134.72 yen.

Against the dollar, the euro was a tad firmer at $1.3810 and within striking distance of Friday's $1.3833, a highnot seen since November 2011.

The dollar has been under broad pressure in the past fewweeks on growing expectations the Federal Reserve will maintainits massive stimulus programme into next year.

The Fed's policy-setting arm meets on Oct 29-30 and isexpected to hold off any move to scale down its $85 billionmonthly bond-buying programme.

Analysts reckon policymakers want to see the impact of theU.S. budget battle that took the country to the brink of a debtdefault and caused a partial government shutdown.

"The FOMC should be a non-event... the Washington debatescloud the growth outlook, so forget about tapering," analysts atJPMorgan wrote in a client note, adding the April 2014 meetinglooked like the soonest start for any tapering.

There is no major data out of Asia on Monday, leaving thefocus on offshore events. Several markets in Asia are closed forpublic holidays on Monday, including New Zealand and thePhilippines.

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