* Asia shares modestly firmer, Europe seen starting steady
* Dollar stuck around 112.50 yen, $1.0775 per euro
* Markets quiet ahead of US earnings rush, Abe/Trump meeting
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, Feb 6 Asian shares crept up on Monday as
Wall Street gathered momentum into a busy week of earnings with
more than 100 major companies due to report, while the dollar
was again hobbled by a lack of progress on U.S. fiscal stimulus.
E-mini futures for the S&P 500 were barely changed
and spread betters pointed to a steady start for the major
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
inched up 0.4 percent, with Taiwan
leading the pack by adding 0.9 percent.
Japan's Nikkei rose 0.2 percent in the wake of a
firmer finish on Wall Street. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
meets U.S. President Donald Trump on Feb. 10 and 11, with trade
and currencies likely to be on the agenda.
A private survey out of China showed activity in the
services sector remained strong in January as companies reported
a solid increase in orders, though the pace of growth eased.
Local markets seemed unimpressed and Shanghai stocks were
barely changed. Dealers are still absorbing Friday's
surprise move by China's central bank to raise short-term
interest rates and whether its attempts to reduce leverage in
the system this year will dampen growth.
While the rate increases were modest, they suggested Beijing
was intent on both containing capital outflows and reining in
risks to the financial system created by years of debt-fuelled
It was the first move in the repo rate since October 2015.
"This change is ground-breaking and suggests that the
central bank will change onshore rates more frequently," wrote
analysts at ANZ in a note.
"The bottom line is to prevent a cash crunch amidst
deleveraging and deflating financial bubbles in certain
DOLLAR ON DEFENCE
On Wall Street, banks had ended Friday strongly as President
Donald Trump moved to roll back regulations intended to prevent
a repeat of the global financial crisis.
JP Morgan Chase shares closed up 3.1 percent and
helped push the S&P bank index up 2.6 percent. The Dow
rose 0.94 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 0.73
percent and the Nasdaq 0.54 percent.
Friday's payrolls data also showed U.S. jobs jumped more
than expected in January as construction firms and retailers
ramped up hiring, but wages growth still slowed.
"All in all a very mixed payroll report, with the breakdown
tending to validate the latest Fed message of a gradual
tightening and no need to rush into a hike at the next meeting,"
said Deutsche Bank's global head of forex Alan Ruskin.
"This data plays to the idea that there may be an extended
gestation period both for easier U.S. fiscal policy and tighter
Fed fund futures <0#FF:> show only a slim chance of a hike
in March and a Reuters poll of primary dealers found none
expected a move before the second quarter.
That cautious outlook kept the dollar softer on the yen at
112.52 yen, having lost 2.3 percent last week in its
worst weekly performance since late July.
The euro was a fraction firmer at $1.0775 while the
dollar dipped against a basket of currencies to 95.763.
In the commodities market, spot gold was 0.3 percent
higher around $1,223.00 an ounce.
Oil prices edged up after the United States imposed
sanctions on some Iranian individuals and entities, days after
the White House rebuked Tehran for a ballistic missile test.
U.S. crude futures added 17 cents to $54.00 per
barrel, while Brent gained 18 cents to $56.99 a barrel
having rallied 2 percent last week.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Sam Holmes and Kim