Asian shares rose on Tuesday on hopes of a compromise in the U.S. fiscal crisis, while the euro fell after Moody's Investors Service scrapped France's top-notch credit rating, reminding investors of the protracted euro zone debt crisis.
Global stocks and commodities surged on Monday to recover some of last week's sharp losses on hopes U.S. lawmakers will reach a deal to avert $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts due to start in January - the fiscal cliff that threatens to send the U.S. economy back into recession.
Prospects that Greece will get a lifeline to stay solvent also helped boost markets, but the euro zone's debt crisis saw Moody's cut France's government bond rating to Aa1 and kept its negative outlook, citing the country's uncertain fiscal outlook and deteriorating economic prospects.
France's downgrade sent the euro down 0.3 percent to $1.2777 in early Asia from $1.2810, a two-week high reached on Monday, and also pushed crosses lower such as the euro against the yen down 0.4 percent and the Australian dollar against the yen down 0.1 percent.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.3 percent. Australian shares were up 0.2 percent and South Korean shares opened 1 percent higher.
Wall Street stocks climbed almost 2 percent, extending a rally that began on Friday, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index closing above its 200-day moving average for the first time in eight sessions. Crude oil jumped almost 3 percent.
Japan's Nikkei average opened up 0.5 percent at a fresh two-month high.
Moody's news is certainly not positive but market reaction seems contained, said Hiroshi Maeba, head of FX trading Japan for UBS in Tokyo, adding that trading was getting lighter ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Given the recent market rally, the rest of the week is likely to be spent on adjusting positions before the long weekend, with any uptick giving way to profit taking, he said.
Maeba expects the euro to remain pressured while the dollar will stay underpinned against the yen to hold above 81 yen.
The dollar eased 0.1 percent to 81.34 yen but held near its highest since April 25 of 81.59 yen touched on Monday.
The Bank of Japan ends a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, and is expected to refrain from taking fresh policy steps.
Euro zone finance ministers are expected to give a