Asian shares steadied Thursday and the safe-haven dollar eased after positive U.S. data, leaving investors waiting for more economic indicators later in the day and a European Central Bank policy meeting.

Weekly jobless claims and U.S. factory orders for August will be released later Thursday, as well as minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's Sept. 12-13 meeting when the central bank launched aggressive stimulus packages aimed at bolstering jobs.

These reports precede Friday's monthly payrolls data, the first such labor market update since the Fed's action.

"The FOMC minutes may shed some light on any possible dimensions surrounding the improvement in the labor market the committee is looking for and scale of purchases they are willing to undertake," ANZ Bank said in a research note cited by Reuters.

"The ECB meeting on Thursday is likely to be low key following an eventful meeting last month."

The European Central Bank, which last month unveiled a program for buying bonds of struggling euro zone states which ask for assistance to help ease their financing stress, is expected to keep interest rates at a record low of 0.75 percent.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.1 percent. Australian shares were up 0.1 percent, after a 14-month closing high on Wednesday boosted by an interest rate cut and a weaker local dollar. South Korean shares were steady.

Chinese markets are closed this week for public holidays.

Japan's Nikkei average opened up 0.4 percent. 


A slight recovery in shares capped the dollar index, which is measured against a basket of six major currencies. The index stood down 0.1 percent. The dollar traded at 78.45 yen after rising to a two-week high of 78.585 on Wednesday.

The Australian dollar was up 0.1 percent at $1.0223, off a one-month low of $1.0196 seen on Wednesday.

The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.2917, stuck in the middle of a three-week low of $1.28035 touched on Monday and a 4-1/2 month high of $1.31729 seen in mid-September.