Asian Equities Subdued with Eyes on Europe

Asian stock markets were subdued on Wednesday while major currencies barely budged as looming euro zone meetings to discuss the Greek debt crisis overshadowed a firmer finish on Wall Street.  Euro zone finance ministers meet later on Wednesday and EU leaders on Thursday, but officials are already downplaying the chance of a breakthrough.

Moves were modest with trade thinned by a holiday in Tokyo, leaving MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan off a slight 0.03 percent.  Shares in Shanghai edged up 0.2 percent as pressure grew for more stimulus after a very low reading on inflation stirred fears of deflation.

China’s central bank on Tuesday said it was ready to fight a downturn, while not taking excessive risks with credit creation.  Australia’s main index slipped 0.6 percent even as a survey showing consumer confidence had surged to 13-month peaks in the wake of last week’s cut in domestic interest rates.

Reuters

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