* Asia ex-Japan slips, Nikkei slightly lower in lacklustre
* European markets expected to open flat
* Investors expect liberal Moon to be elected S. Korea
* Dollar drifts; euro flat after Monday's sell-off
* Oil sentiment swings between OPEC cut hopes, U.S. glut
(Updates with link to most recent S. Korea election story in
By Nichola Saminather
SINGAPORE, May 9 Asian stock markets edged down
on Tuesday following a flat close on Wall Street, as investors
searched for the next catalyst following France's presidential
election, while oil inched higher on expectations OPEC supply
cuts will be extended.
Financial spreadbetters expect Britain's FTSE 100,
Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 to all open
The South Korean stock market, which finished at a record
high on Monday, is closed for Tuesday's presidential election.
Liberal Moon Jae-in is widely expected to win the
presidency, following months of leadership vacuum after former
President Park Geun-hye was removed on charges of bribery and
abuse of power.
The polls opened at 6 a.m. (2100 GMT on Monday) and will
close at 8 p.m. (1100 GMT). The winner is expected to be sworn
in on Wednesday after the Election Commission releases the
Allies and neighbours are closely watching the election amid
escalating tensions over North Korea's accelerating development
of weapons since it conducted its fourth nuclear test in January
last year. It conducted a fifth test in September and is
believed ready for another.
North Korea would be keen to see a Moon victory. Its
official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary on Monday
the time had come to put confrontation behind the Koreas by
ending conservative rule in the South.
"South Korean markets had not registered significant
risk-off sentiment similar to other economies pre-elections, and
this is no surprise," Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in
Singapore, wrote in a note.
"The largely similar stance on policies by the Presidential
candidates provides little chance of surprise as compared to
last week's French election. Meanwhile, the filling of the
political vacuum could go a long way to benefitting the
The Korean won weakened 0.25 percent on Tuesday, with
the dollar buying 1,135.52 won.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
slipped 0.2 percent on Tuesday.
Japan's Nikkei was slightly lower.
China's CSI 300 index retreated 0.3 percent in its
sixth straight session of losses amid concerns over tighter
financial regulations. Hong Kong's Hang Seng reversed
earlier losses to trade up 0.35 percent.
Taiwan stocks pulled back to trade 0.25 percent
lower on profit taking after earlier surpassing the 10,000-point
mark to hit a two-year high.
The MSCI World index, which touched a record
high overnight, dropped about 0.1 percent.
The dollar was flat at 113.285 yen, retaining most
of Monday's 0.4 percent gain.
The dollar index was also steady at 99.11.
The euro was steady at $1.0927 after tumbling 0.7
percent on Monday.
"The euro's retreat was driven solely by profit-taking. I
think it is going to regain momentum over time," said Yukio
Ishizuki, senior currency analyst at Daiwa Securities.
French stocks slumped 0.9 percent overnight, their
biggest one-day loss in almost three weeks, as investors took
profits following strong gains in the run-up to Sunday's vote
that saw the market favourite, centrist Emmanuel Macron, elected
Germany's DAX closed 0.2 percent lower, while
Britain's FTSE was marginally higher.
On Wall Street, all three major indexes closed flat, holding
near recent all-time highs. The CBOE Volatility Index
closed at 9.77, its lowest since December 1993.
In commodities, oil market sentiment swung between optimism
over statements from major oil-producing countries that supply
cuts could be extended into 2018 and lingering concerns over
slowing demand and a rise in U.S. crude output.
U.S. crude inched up 0.1 percent to $46.47 a barrel.
Global benchmark Brent also rose 0.1 percent to
Copper remained close to the four-month low touched on
Monday after data showed a sharp drop on imports into China, the
world's biggest consumer.
London copper slipped 0.1 percent to $5,481.50 a
tonne on Tuesday, after falling to as low as $5,462.50 on
Gold recovered from a seven-week trough touched on Monday.
Spot gold rose about 0.1 percent to $1,226.60 an ounce.
(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Additional reporting by
Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Eric Meijer and Sam Holmes)