By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian shares came under pressure on Thursday as a disappointing survey on Chinese manufacturing stoked concerns about the regional giant and overshadowed better news from Japan. Investors reacted by selling the Australian dollar , often a used as a liquid proxy for bets on China, while shares in Shanghai dropped 0.5 percent . MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan skidded 0.6 percent, with indices in South Korea and Taiwan in the red. The Markit/JMMA flash Japan PMI jumped to a seasonally adjusted 52.4, up from 50.5 in July and the highest reading since March just before a hike in taxes sent demand cratering.
Federal Reserve hinted on Wednesday that a surprisingly strong jobs market recovery could lead it to raise interest rates earlier than it had been anticipating. At the same time, most Fed officials wanted further evidence before changing their view on when rates should rise, according to the minutes from the central bank's July 29-30 meeting. "Labor market conditions had moved noticeably closer to those viewed as normal in the longer run," the minutes said, adding that policymakers "generally agreed" the job market was healing faster than they had expected. The Fed had said in its policy statement following the July meeting that there was "significant" labor market slack, but the minutes showed many members of its policy-setting panel thought this characterization "might have to change before long." "The committee as a whole has started to shift its stance," said Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics in London.
Bank of America Corp is expected to pay more than $16.5 billion to end investigations into mortgage securities that the bank and its units sold in the run-up to the financial crisis, in a deal that could be announced as early as Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said. An agreement in principle was reached earlier this month after a phone call between the bank's chief executive, Brian Moynihan, and Attorney General Eric Holder. Representatives of the Justice Department and Bank of America declined comment.