Stocks, euro steady but U.S., Greek fears linger
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian shares and the euro steadied on Wednesday but lacked the impetus for a decisive rebound, as investors continued to fret about the looming "fiscal cliff" in the United States and a delay in releasing more aid to debt-stricken Greece.
U.S. stock futures ticked up after a decline in Wall Street shares in Tuesday's session, led by a slide of more than 3 percent for Microsoft following the surprise departure of a key executive.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.1 percent after falling to a seven-week low in the previous session, and Tokyo's Nikkei made a similar gain after seven straight days in the red.
Since the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, markets have been focusing attention on how a divided White House and Congress will tackle the series of mandated tax hikes and spending cuts that start to take effect next year and could tip the world's largest economy back into recession.
"Although a technical rebound is possible after the Japanese market has dropped a lot, with such lingering concerns on the U.S. and Europe, investors are staying risk averse," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities.
The euro rose 0.1 percent to around $1.2714, struggling off a more than two-month low, and climbed around 0.2 percent against the yen.
The single currency has fallen nearly 2 percent against the dollar and more than 1.5 percent against the yen in November as concerns about Greece and Spain have pushed investors towards the safe-haven U.S. and Japanese currencies.
Greece's international lenders on Monday gave the country more time to fix its budget, though they did not disburse the aid Greece had hoped to use to refinance 5 billion euros of its debt by Friday.
Commodity markets were subdued, with U.S. crude little changed around $85.35 a barrel, while gold inched up to around $1,728 an ounce.
(Reporting by Alex Richardson in Singapore and Ayai Tomisawa in Tokyo; Editing by Michael Perry)
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