Chinese stocks in tentative bounce, Fed in no hurry to taper



* Asian stock markets : Link

* China shares edge up, still down sharply on week

* Fed sees progress on economy, but not there yet

* Senate votes to progress on infrastructure bill

* Facebook stock down after warning on revenue growth

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY, July 29 (Reuters) - Asian shares managed a semblance of calm on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled it was in no rush to taper stimulus, though the mood was fragile as investors waited to see if Beijing could stem the recent bloodletting in Chinese shares.

There was also some promising news on the long-awaited U.S. infrastructure bill as the Senate voted to move ahead on the $1.2 trillion deal.

Yet much depended on how China's markets fared amid reports regulators had called banks overnight to ease market fears about tighter rules on the education sector.

"The message is that profit has not become a dirty word in the Chinese system of 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics', only in certain sectors," said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at NAB.

"How successful the messaging by the authorities will be in putting a floor under the broader Chinese stock market remains to be seen."

For now, gains were tentative with blue-chip shares .CSI300 up 1.4%, but still down more than 5% for the week, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC added 1.1%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS bounced 1.1%, having slid to its lowest since early December on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei .N225 edged up 0.4%, while South Korea .KS11 was flat.

S&P 500 futures ESc1 eased 0.2%, as did EUROSTOXX 50 futures STXEc1 . Nasdaq futures NQc1 dipped 0.3% perhaps weighed by a retreat in Facebook stock.

Facebook Inc FB.O shed 3.5% after the company warned revenue growth would "decelerate significantly," even as it reported strong ad sales.

Markets had see-sawed overnight when the Federal Reserve policy statement said "progress" had been made toward its economic goals, seeming to bring nearer the day when it might start tapering its massive asset buying campaign.

However, Fed Chair Jerome Powell took a dovish turn by emphasising that they were "some ways away" from substantial progress on jobs.

"The difference in tone between the statement and press conference may simply reflect Powell being on the dovish side of the Committee," said JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli.

"In any event, there are three more job reports before the November meeting, and two more between the November and December meetings," he added. "We continue to expect a December announcement, though we see a risk it could occur in November."

The next Fed meeting is not until late September, offering the market a break from tapering talk.

For bonds, the net result was that U.S. 10-year yields US10YT=TWEB eased back to 1.236% after a brief pop higher, leaving them not far from recent five-month lows of 1.128%.

The pattern was the same for the dollar, which edged up on the FOMC statement only to flag on Powell's remarks.

That left the euro up at $1.1846 EUR= , and above its recent four-month trough of $1.1750.

The dollar faded to 109.70 yen JPY= , and away from a top of 110.58 early in the week. All of which saw the dollar index dip to 92.236 =USD , off its recent top at 93.194.

In commodity markets, gold remained sidelined at $1,808 an ounce XAU= having now spent 17 sessions in a $30 range.

Oil prices firmed after data showed U.S. crude inventories fell to pre-pandemic levels, bringing the market's focus back to tight supplies rather than rising COVID-19 infections.

Brent LCOc1 was last off 7 cents at $74.67 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 lost 4 cents to $72.35.



Asia stock markets Link
Asia-Pacific valuations Link



Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa


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