Thursday, December 8, 2011

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares, euro drift lower as EU summit jitters weigh

SINGAPORE (Dec 8): Asian shares and the euro drifted down on Thursday as investors fretted over whether European leaders can agree a plan to tackle the euro zone's two-year-old debt crisis at a make-or-break summit this week.

A report that the G20 was preparing a $600 billion lending facility for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help Europe gave a late lift to U.S. stocks and briefly boosted the euro, but the effect faded after it was denied by G20 and IMF officials.

With big set-piece events looming -- the European Central Bank's final monetary policy meeting of the year on Thursday and the EU summit on Friday -- investors were unwilling to commit new funds. Riskier assets such as commodities lost ground.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.1 percent, while Tokyo's Nikkei share average lost 0.7 percent. S&P 500 futures were flat, after small gains on Wall Street on Wednesday.

The euro slipped a little to just below $1.34, within the tight $1.3332/3486 range of the past week.

U.S. crude eased around 0.1 percent to $100.41 a barrel and gold fell around $2.50 to below $1,739 an ounce. - Reuters

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