Spain bailout uncertainty pushes European shares lower

European shares and the euro dipped on Tuesday as investors worried about Spain's economic troubles and a gloomy outlook for global growth, cashing in recent gains.

The FTSEurofirst index of top European shares opened 0.4 percent lower as trading resumed, having finished up 1.42 percent at 1104.71 points on Monday. London's FTSE 100 <.FTSE>, Paris's CAC-40 <.FCHI> and Frankfurt's DAX <.GDAXI> all started in negative territory. <.L> <.EU> <.N>

Spain is ready to request a euro zone bailout for its public finances as early as next weekend but Germany has signaled it should hold off, European officials said on Monday, adding to the confusion about when aid could arrive.

A rescue program would pave the way for the European Central Bank to buy Spanish bonds.

"There are worries over whether or not it will be a bailout and whether such a bailout would trigger credit downgrades," said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading, at Global Equities.

"But beyond that, markets have not completely realized how powerful the new ECB policy is and how it will reshape things, so there's still upside."

The euro, which has been keeping to tight ranges in recent sessions, dipped back under $1.29 against a broadly firmer U.S. dollar <.DXY>.

Spanish and Italian 10-year government bonds both saw small drops in yields while demand for German bonds eased slightly. Oil prices steadied near $112 a barrel as gold inched higher.

Data from the U.S. showing that the manufacturing sector grew for the first time since May helped keep the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> near a six-year high and lifted Asian shares around 0.2 percent overnight <.MIAPJ0000PUS> <.N225>.

Earlier on Tuesday, Australia's central bank, the RBA, kicked off a week of central bank meetings by cutting its main rate by a quarter point to 3.25 percent. The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan all follow later this week although none are expected to move rates.

It is the RBA's third cut in six months as the slowdown in China, a strong currency, soft export prices and benign inflation all warrant easier policy.

The move saw the Australian dollar slip to a one-month low of $1.0305 from around $1.0363 before the announcement, but Australian shares <.AXJO> rose 1 percent.

"We have to say that if they thought the case today was compelling, then the odds are that things are travelling faster than they thought and that leaves the door open for another cut we think before year end," said Su-Lin Ong, senior economist at RBC Capital Markets.

(additional reporting by Blaise Robinson; editing by Anna Willard)