Stocks steady but US fiscal worries linger
Since the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, markets have been focusing attention on how a divided Washington will tackle the series of mandated tax hikes and spending cuts that start to take effect next year and could pitch 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.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent after falling to a seven-week low in the previous session, and Tokyo's Nikkei edged up 0.1 percent after seven straight days in the red.
Worries about the U.S. economy, together with the prospect of weaker demand from a slowing China, also weighed on industrial commodities, with oil and copper both losing ground.
U.S. stock index futures gained 0.3 percent 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.
After the U.S. closing bell, Cisco Systems shares rose 6.8 percent to $18 after it reported quarterly revenue and earnings that beat analysts' estimates.
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