* Dlr, yen steady after risk appetite boosted a day earlier
* ECB seen keeping rates at 1.0 pct at Thursday's meeting
* Investors hesitant to take fresh positions before US jobs
By Rika Otsuka
TOKYO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The dollar and the yen were on the defensive on Thursday, retaining most losses made the previous day when upbeat data helped lure investors away from safe-haven currencies and assets.
Data released on Wednesday showed the U.S. manufacturing sector grew faster than expected in August, China's factory regained momentum and Australia's economy expanded at its fastest pace in three years in the second quarter. [ID:nSGE68002V]
The data lifted stocks, commodities and higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar.
But investors have now turned hesitant about taking fresh positions ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting later in the day and Friday's closely-watched monthly U.S. jobs report, a trader said.
In early Asian trade, the euro inched down 0.1 percent to $1.2796 EUR=, having risen as high as $1.2856 the previous day.
The next target for the euro is around $1.2873 -- a 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement of its fall from an August peak of $1.3334 to its low of $1.2588 marked in the same month. After that, the next target its Aug. 18 high of $1.2923.
"The euro/dollar is expected to stay in the $1.2500-$1.3000 range that many players feel comfortable with," said a senior trader at a big Japanese bank.
The dollar index, a gauge of the greenback's performance against a basket of six major currencies, was steady on the day at 82.533 .DXY after falling 0.9 percent on Wednesday, marking its biggest one-day fall in six weeks.
The dollar edged up 0.1 percent to 84.54 yen JPY=, staying above a 15-year low of 83.58 yen hit last week.
The euro was barely moved against the yen at 108.17 yen EURJPY=R after jumping 1.3 percent the previous day.
The ECB is seen keeping the benchmark refinancing rate at 1.0 percent at Thursday's meeting. It is also expected to extend lending support for banks despite raising its economic growth forecasts as it seeks to balance a multi-speed recovery among the 16 countries in the euro zone. [ID:nLDE6420RY]
The Australian dollar slipped 0.2 percent to $0.9087 AUD=D4, dented by light profit-taking after it hit a three-week high of $0.9117 on the strong growth data on Wednesday. (Editing by Edwina Gibbs)