Asian shares steady, Basel ruling supports banks

Asian shares outside Japan edged up on Monday, supported by data showing the U.S. economy continuing on a path of slow but steady recovery that had pushed Wall Street stocks to a five-year high.

Financial stocks were underpinned by a decision from global regulators on Sunday to give banks four more years and greater flexibility to build up cash buffers so they can use some of their reserves to help struggling economies grow.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> gained 0.1 percent, but Tokyo's Nikkei share average <.N225> retreated after touching a 23-month high in early trade and last stood down 0.4 percent.

The MSCI benchmark's financial sector sub-index <.MIAPJFN00PUS> gained 0.2 percent after the Basel Committee of banking supervisors agreed at the weekend to a relaxation of a draconian earlier draft of new global bank liquidity rules.

Shares in Japanese exporters were supported by a weaker yen, which was steady around 88.17 to the dollar, after the U.S. currency rose as far as 88.40 yen, its highest in nearly two-and-a-half years, on Friday.

The dollar ticked up slightly against the euro, which traded around $1.3060.

The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index closed at its highest level since December 2007 on Friday after data showed a steady pace of jobs growth and brisk expansion of the services sector in the world's biggest economy.

(Reporting by Alex Richardson; Editing by Eric Meijer)