Stocks slip on slower growth, euro drifts higher

* Japan’s Nikkei down 0.8 pct, led by Fast Retailing

* Euro may head to $1.50 this week

* Weak U.S. data stoke worries about growth stalling

* Will central banks come to the rescue of global economy?

By Kevin Plumberg

SINGAPORE, June 6 (Reuters) – – Japanese and Australian stocks slipped on Monday after weak U.S. employment data set a cautious tone to the week, further hobbling the dollar and putting the rising euro on a path to $1.50 ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting later in the week.

The smallest U.S. jobs growth in eight months in May reflected a global business cycle shifting to slower growth and confirmed what many investors had been already anticipating by taking a defensive stance in their portfolios.

The outstanding question for them is whether monetary policy can come to the rescue of major economies this time.

For that reason, this week’s meetings of the ECB, embroiled in questions about the need for more Greece aid, the Bank of England, the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Bank of Indonesia will be focal points for investors.

Japan’s Nikkei share average was down 0.9 percent near the low end of a trading range established since mid April.

Fast Retailing , operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, was the biggest drag on the Nikkei, down 1.8 percent, reversing Friday’s gains.

Toyota Motor shares curbed further losses in the Nikkei, rising 0.3 percent on the company’s forecast that production will recover to 90 percent of levels before the massive March earthquake.

Australian’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6 percent to the lowest since March 17.

Markets in China and Hong Kong were closed for a long holiday weekend, but traders were on watch for further tightening measures by China’s central bank.

The euro edged up 0.2 percent to $1.4652, near a one-month high, in the wake of the May U.S. payrolls data. The euro has bounced 3.9 percent in the past three weeks, helped by hopes that Greece is close to securing billions of euros in aid.

A new aid package for Greece could cost more than 100 billion euros ($144 billion), German news magazine Der Spiegel said in its latest issue to appear on Monday.

In commodities markets, U.S. crude futures inched higher as the dollar remained soft but gains would be limited by the cloudy economic outlook.

The July contract was up 0.1 percent at $100.31 a barrel .

Gulf Arab OPEC members led by Saudi Arabia look like they will push for an increase in supplies on Wednesday in an effort to support flagging world economic growth by bringing crude prices back below $100 a barrel. These expectations, however, have not had much a downward impact on oil prices yet.