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Asia shares mixed ahead of US jobs data

Asian shares were mixed on Thursday as investors brushed off another record close on Wall Street ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting and the release of closely watched US jobs data.

HONG KONG: Asian shares were mixed on Thursday as investors brushed off another record close on Wall Street ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting and the release of closely watched US jobs data.

The euro faced further selling pressure on expectations the ECB will further cut interest rates at its Thursday meeting and unveil other monetary easing measures to fend off deflation and support the economy.

Tokyo pared most morning gains to end flat, edging up 11.41 points to 15,079.37, while Seoul fell 0.65 percent, or 13.08 points, to 1,995.48 and Sydney slid 0.15 percent, or 7.93 points, to close at 5,436.90.

Shanghai gained 0.79 percent, or 16.05 points, to 2,040.88 and Hong Kong slipped 0.18 percent, or 42.05 points, to 23,109.66.

US shares ticked up on Wednesday after broadly upbeat data. The Institute for Supply Management said activity in the services sector, accounting for 80 percent of the US economy, surged in May.

Also, the Federal Reserve's "Beige Book" report said all 12 districts of the country saw increasing economic activity in recent weeks. That compares with April's report, which showed two districts' activity decline.

However, payrolls company ADP said the US private sector created a net 179,000 new jobs in May, its lowest level in four months.

The S&P 500 rose 0.18 percent to end at another record high, while the Dow edged up 0.07 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq gained 0.41 percent.

On currency markets the euro edged lower prior to the ECB policy meeting which is widely expected to see it cut rates to historic lows. The bank is under pressure to tackle anaemic price rises and the threat of deflation.

Official data on Tuesday showed eurozone inflation slowed to 0.5 percent in May, from 0.7 percent in April and far weaker than the ECB's target of just below 2.0 percent.

There is speculation that it could introduce a number of unconventional measures, such as lowering the deposit rate to negative levels and begin asset purchases similar to those carried out by the Fed.

The euro bought $1.3598 against $1.3599 in New York, while it slipped to 139.55 yen from 139.68 yen.

The dollar was quoted at 102.54 yen compared with 102.74 yen.

Oil prices dipped. US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in July, eased 35 cents to $102.29 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for July was down 28 cents at $108.12 in afternoon trade.

Gold fetched $1,246.16 an ounce at 1125 GMT compared with $1,245.55 late Monday.

In other markets:

-- Singapore edged down 0.53 point to 3,279.64.

-- Kuala Lumpur gained 3.80 points, or 0.20 percent, to 1,869.00.

-- Bangkok added 0.26 percent or 3.76 points to 1,453.16.

-- Jakarta ended up 0.06 percent, or 3.00 points, at 4,935.56.

-- Taipei rose 0.23 percent, or 20.76 points, to 9,140.72.

-- Manila end flat, nudging up 5.87 points to close at 6772.44.

-- Mumbai rose 0.86 percent, or 213.68 points, to 25,019.51.

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