Shares steady

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    SYDNEY- Asian share markets lagged on Thursday as US stock futures nudged to another record high after the Federal Reserve underlined its commitment to keeping policy super loose even as the economy enjoys a rapid recovery.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat, and also little changed on the week. Japan’s Nikkei eased 0.3 percent and Chinese blue chips 0.1 percent, with trading very subdued.

    The outperformance of the US economy helped S&P 500 futures add 0.3 percent to a new peak, while Nasdaq futures gained 0.4 percent. EUROSTOXX 50 futures firmed 0.2 percent and FTSE futures 0.3 percent.

    Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting showed members felt the economy was still far short of target and were in no rush to scale back their $120 billion a month of bond buying.

    Fed Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at an IMF event later on Thursday and is likely to reiterate the dovish outlook.

    “This discussion is consistent with our view that it will be later this year before the Fed starts talking about talking about tapering, with actual changes to the purchase pace not occurring until Q1 2022,” said analysts at JPMorgan.

    “Fed officials generally viewed the recent rise in longer-term Treasury yields as reflecting an improving outlook and some firming of inflation expectations, and not a risk to the outlook.”

    Yields on 10-year Treasuries have since eased back a little to 1.667 percent, from the recent 14-month top of 1.776 percent, but have struggled to break under 1.59 percent. – Reuters