U.S. Markets closed

Asian shares stabilise, focus turns to China reform plan

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, November 11, 2013.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Dominic Lau

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares held steady on Tuesday, with investors turning their attention to the Chinese Communist Party policy-meeting for clues to China's economic agenda for the next decade, while the dollar's two-day rally against the euro came to a halt.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.1 percent after a three-day run of losses, while Australian shares gained 0.3 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks edged up, lifting the Dow Jones industrial average to another record closing high in light volume on Veterans Day. U.S. S&P 500 E-mini futures were flat in early Asian trade.

All eyes will be on the unveiling of China's economic blueprint for the next decade later on Tuesday as Beijing seeks to balance the need to overhaul the world's second-largest economy while it tries to preserve stability and to reinforce the Communist Party's power.

"In terms of the effect on the market, some people actually believe it might be slightly negative and the reason for that is that ... you have a situation where the current investment in Chinese infrastructure slows down as these laws are changed," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne.

But on a medium-term view, changes to the Chinese economy would boost growth in the region, he said.

The dollar was steady at 99.18 yen, while the euro was little changed at $1.34045 after bouncing 0.3 percent on Monday, ending a two-day streak of losses that saw the single currency briefly touch an eight-week low last Thursday on the back of a surprise rate cut by the European Central Bank.

The outlook for the dollar remained upbeat with expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve might reduce its massive stimulus sooner than thought after a strong October jobs print.

Emerging currencies look set to remain on the defensive, however, on concerns about capital outflow, if the Fed removes its cheap money policy.

Indonesia's central bank is likely on Tuesday to keep its benchmark reference rate on hold at its monthly meeting, as inflation has stabilised and the current-account deficit is expected to narrow, relieving pressure on the ailing rupiah, which lost 1.3 percent to a one-month low of 11,555 per dollar on Monday.

Tokyo's Nikkei futures rose 0.3 percent, signalling a firmer open for the Nikkei share average after the benchmark rallied 1.3 percent from a three-week low on Monday.

U.S. crude prices slipped 0.2 percent to just below $94.7 a barrel, giving up some of the 0.4 percent rise on Monday after Iran and six world powers failed to reach a deal on Tehran's nuclear programme and after Chinese data pointed to a rise in fuel demand.

Gold dipped 0.1 percent to below $1,282 an ounce, hovering near a three-week low touched overnight.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)