Financial spreadbetters expected a flat to slightly higher open for
Europe, with Britain's FTSE seen unchanged, Germany's DAX gaining as
much as 0.14 percent to a record high and France's CAC rising 0.1
Riskier asset markets sped up overnight after the United States
reported an unexpected rise in durable goods orders in April and
higher home prices for March. Services industries, which dominate
the economy, also grew at a rapid clip in May.
The sunny mood saw MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan scale a fresh one-year high of 490.15 -- it was last
up 0.6 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei ticked up 0.4 percent, and South
Korean shares rose 0.8 percent.
"The bullish U.S. indicators have set the positive tone for
investors, who are basically using this week to prepare for next
week's ECB meeting," said Cho Byung-hyun, analyst at Tong Yang
Securities in Seoul.
The upbeat sentiment eroded the safe-haven appeal of gold, which
extended sharp overnight losses and fell to a fresh 3-1/2 month low
amid the strong U.S. economic data and a drop in imports by top
Spot gold slipped to a low of $1,260.74 an ounce, its weakest since
Feb. 7. [GOL/]
The recent run of largely upbeat U.S. data has helped underpin
global equities even as a slowdown in China still remains a worry.
China's yuan flirted with fresh 18-month lows against the dollar as
investors focused on a raft of negative news from the property
sector as further evidence of a spreading slowdown in the economy. [CNY/]
The Federal Reserve's commitment to continue to support the world's
biggest economy and indications the European Central Bank (ECB) will
take easing steps to prop up sluggish growth in the euro zone have
also calmed nerves.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.42
percent, and the S&P 500 advanced 0.60 percent to 1,911.91, a new
The economic optimism steered the dollar index, which measures the
greenback's strength against a basket of key currencies, to a high
of 80.470 - a level last seen in early April. It last traded at
The dollar, which was also supported by a rise in U.S. Treasury
yields, fetched 101.93 yen, within striking distance of a two-week
high of 102.145 hit on Tuesday.
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The euro remained on the defensive after comments from ECB President
Mario Draghi again highlighted the bank's discomfort over
persistently low inflation and suggested some kind of policy action
was likely at the June 5 meeting.
The euro was little changed at $1.3632, hovering near a three-month
low $1.3612 plumbed on Tuesday.
Brent crude rose 17 cents to $110.19 a barrel as the upbeat U.S.
data brightened demand prospects from the world's largest economy,
with geopolitical risk in Libya and Ukraine providing additional
"There are quite a few bullish factors in the oil market that are
supportive, we have good economic indicators and uncertainty over
Libya and Ukraine," said Tetsu Emori, a commodity fund manager at
"But the U.S. equity market is too strong. My worry is if we see
some profit-taking in equities, oil may fall as well."
Seasonally strong demand from top user China kept copper well bid.
Three-month copper at the London Metal Exchange was at $6,924 a
Metric ton after reaching a three-month peak of $6,966 on Tuesday.
(Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in Hong Kong and Shinichi
Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by John Stonestreet)
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