* MSCI Asia ex-Japan rises 0.5 pct, Nikkei drops 0.9 pct
* Euro, Aussie steady off lows
* IMF cuts global growth forecast, warns U.S., Europepolicymakers
* Oil jumps on supply concerns as Middle East tension mounts
* European shares riseBy Chikako Mogi
TOKYO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Asian shares rose on Tuesday butgains were moderated by concerns over global growth prospects,especially in the world's second-biggest economy China, andexpected weak U.S. corporate earnings.
The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
added 0.5 percent, pulled higher by Hong Kongand China shares which rose 1.1 percent
and 2 percent
, respectively, on hopes of more steps to support themarket from Beijing.
European shares are expected to gain as well, with a 0.2percent rise in U.S. stock futures
suggesting a solidstart on Wall Street. Financial spreadbetters expected London'sFTSE 100
, Paris's CAC-40and Frankfurt's DAX
to open as much as 0.5 percent higher.
"Asian equities markets are feeling the positive effectsfrom the recent global easing, prompting investors to buy theregion's stocks which have remained undervalued," said HirokazuYuihama, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.
"Weak third-quarter corporate earnings, as well as aslowdown in the Chinese growth rate to below or around 8 percenthave already been noted in various reports - reasons why furthermonetary easing took place. But the outlook for sluggishfundamentals will likely limit the markets' upside."
Australian sharesrose 0.6 percent to a fresh14-month high, as a jump in iron ore prices
lifted miners and helped offset concerns about global economicgrowth.
The International Monetary Fund cut its global growthforecast on Tuesday to a 3.3 percent expansion for 2012, downfrom its July estimate of 3.5 percent, making it the slowestyear of growth since 2009. It warned U.S. and Europeanpolicymakers that failure to fix their economic ills wouldprolong the slump.
The IMF's World Economic Outlook preceded its twice-yearlymeeting scheduled in Tokyo later this week, and followed asimilarly grim report from the World Bank, which on Monday cutforecasts for the East Asia and Pacific region.
"A lot of investors are underweight China in theirportfolios so any talk on QFII is likely to encourage them tostart getting involved again," said Tom Kaan, a director atLouis Capital Markets in Hong Kong, referring to quotas foroffshore investors to directly access China's domestic markets.
Tokyo's Nikkei stock average
bucked the trend with a0.9 percent slide on concerns about earnings. The Japanesecorporate earnings season begins later in the month while theU.S. third-quarter corporate earnings reporting season starts onTuesday.
Oil prices jumped, with U.S. crude oil futures
rising$1 to $90.33 while Brentclimbed towards $113.
"Right now the market is concerned about the continuingconflict between Syria and Turkey, and the worry is that if itescalates, it may disrupt Brent supplies," said Ker Chung Yang,senior investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
rose 0.6 percent to $8,230 a tonne.
Chinese vs U.S. equities:
HIGHLIGHTS from Eurogroup meeting:
TAKE A LOOK - IMF, World Economic Outlook
EURO, AUSSIE LIFTED
A recovery in equities pulled riskier currencies higher.
inched up 0.1 percent to $1.2985 and therisk-sensitive and commodity-related Australian dollar
gained 0.4 percent to $1.0224, off Monday's three-month low of$1.0149.
Uncertainty over whether Spain will request external aid tohelp streamline its huge public debt remained after euro zonefinance ministers met on Monday to discuss issues related to theregion's debt crisis, including what needs to be done toestablish a single supervisory authority for euro zone banks.
The finance ministers launched their permanent 500 billioneuro bailout fund on Monday but said Spain, the country widelyexpected to be first to draw on it, was taking steps to overhaulits economy and did not need a bailout for now.
"Markets look as if they are tiring of the current stand offbetween Spain and Europe on the details of bailouts etc ... Thismay start to drag more on equity/commodity markets in thesessions ahead," Westpac Institutional Bank said in a researchnote. The European Central Bank's new programme to buy bonds ofstruggling euro zone states, aimed at reducing their borrowingcosts, is conditional on the countries asking for help.
Greece, which was the focus of market jitters before Spain,said international lenders are considering giving the countrytwo more years to reach its budget deficit reduction targets,and the extra time could be financed without more money from theeuro zone.
Investors have preferred buying higher-yielding creditproducts with growth prospects than equities, and may eye thePhilippines, Asia's largest issuer of sovereign debt in theglobal market, which is set to return this month with a $1billion global peso note offer.
Asian credit markets steadied, with the spread on the iTraxxAsia ex-Japan investment-grade index
marginallywider by 1 basis point.
(Additional reporting by Ramya Venugopal in Singapore andVikram Subhedar in Hong Kong; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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