Asia shares slip as focus turns to US jobs release

Hong Kong — Asian markets slipped Wednesday, taking a lead from Wall Street, with few catalysts driving action ahead of US jobs data, while the dollar eased after breaking ¥100 in New York.

Concerns over Greece returned as the country's creditors pushed its leaders to implement huge cuts agreed as part of its bailout, fueling fears Athens could be denied much-needed cash.

Tokyo fell 0.43 percent, with buying on the back of a weakening yen offset by profit-taking after the index posted gains of more than nine percent over the past four sessions.

Hong Kong lost 0.56 percent and Shanghai fell 0.85 percent, with investors growing more nervous about the mainland economy after another batch of weak manufacturing data showed it was slowing down.

Seoul was 0.29 percent lower and Sydney lost 1.52 percent after surging 2.6 percent on Tuesday.

Global markets have enjoyed a broad uptick in the past few sessions as concerns over the US Federal Reserve's stimulus have eased, while US and European data have pointed to gradual improvement.

However, traders remain edgy ahead of US non-farm jobs data due out on Friday, which will provide a better idea of the state of the world's biggest economy.

On Wall Street the Dow fell 0.28 percent while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq edged down marginally as Greece came under renewed pressure from EU-IMF creditors.

The so-called troika representing the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, has called on Greece to make thousands of state layoffs and cut back a burgeoning health budget deficit, in line with past pledges.

A Eurogroup meeting on July 8 will determine whether the country can withdraw the next $8.2 billion tranche of its bailout, while the IMF will decide by the end of the month whether to disburse its own scheduled contribution.

In Portugal, the foreign minister resigned Tuesday in a row over the country's bailout, plunging the recession-wracked country into a political crisis a day after the finance minister quit.

On currency markets, the dollar dipped slightly against the yen after breaking the ¥100 barrier for the first time in almost a month in New York.

Early Asian trade Wednesday saw it buying ¥100.54, compared with ¥100.63 in New York, but it is well up from ¥99.60 in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The euro bought $1.2975 and ¥130.41, against $1.2978 and ¥130.60 in New York.

In Tokyo, shares in the food-and-beverage unit of Suntory rose more than two percent after the biggest initial public offering in Japan this year. Suntory Beverage & Food stocks jumped 2.58 percent after the first 30 minutes of trading.

Oil prices rose, fueled by growing concerns that the political crisis in Egypt could disrupt supplies from the Middle East, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, was up $1.69 at $101.29 in morning trade. Brent North Sea crude for August delivery gained 87 cents to $104.87.

Gold fell to $1,247.95 per ounce at 0210 GMT, compared with $1,260.17 late Tuesday. — Agence France-Presse

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