Asian stocks slide on further oil price weakness and soft China data

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares wilted on Wednesday as oil prices extended losses after weak economic data from China, while the dollar took a breather after this week's rally.

Investors warily tracked United States election results, in which Republicans made major gains and were set to capture control of the Senate in a midterm vote that could serve as a public referendum on President Barack Obama's job performance.

S&P E-mini futures rose 0.3 per cent. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 0.3 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei stock average was flat.

Services sector growth in China weakened in October as new business cooled, a private survey showed, coming just days after previous data revealed sluggish factory growth in the world's second largest economy.

The data reinforced signs of a gradual slowdown that could prod Beijing to unveil fresh stimulus measures.

Crude prices tumbled to multi-year lows on Tuesday on news top oil exporter Saudi Arabia cut its US sales prices.

US crude futures edged down to US$77.15 a barrel in Asia after reaching the lowest intraday price since October 2011 after the Saudi move. Brent fell 0.4 per cent to US$82.50.

"The market is already soft for Brent and the Chinese data is not going to help," said Avtar Sandu, senior manager for commodities at Phillip Futures.

The US dollar steadied after an earlier dip as investors locked in profits after this week's rally, while a Reuters report saying central bankers in the euro zone plan to challenge European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's leadership style underpinned the euro.

Some members intend to raise their concerns with Draghi at the governors' traditional informal working dinner on Wednesday before the ECB's formal monthly rate-setting meeting on Thursday, the sources interviewed by Reuters said. "We do not expect further easing at Thursday's ECB meeting but it may give more insight into its new asset purchase programmes," strategists at Barclays said.

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