GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares push higher ahead of U.S. jobs data
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.7 pct, MSCI global index up 0.3 pct * Euro holds after ECB reassures on bond buying * U.S. stocks seen slightly higher, US payrolls data due 1230 GMT By Marc Jones LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Global shares and the euro were on course for 1.5 percent weekly gains on Friday, as investors awaited U.S. jobs data and took heart from the European Central Bank's assurances that it is ready to buy the bonds of troubled euro zone governments. Major equity, commodity and other risk markets have been trading more cautiously over the last few weeks having enjoyed a 15-20 percent rally between June and September as central banks prepared and then delivered stimulus and support measures. The main market mover of the day is likely to be the monthly U.S. payrolls report due at 1230 GMT. Recent indicators have suggested the world's largest economy is seeing some traction following last month's injection Federal Reserve aid, but investors are now looking for firmer evidence. The data is expected to show employers added 113,000 jobs to their payrolls in September, according to a Reuters poll of economists. However, it would be too few to prevent the nation's unemployment rate ticking up to 8.2 percent. U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher open on Wall Street ahead of the data and the dollar was slightly firmer against key currencies. "Should today's report come in line with expectations and the same pattern be confirmed in the coming months, we see increasing chances that the Fed will act again to stimulate activity," said Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisa Piazza. Following rises in Asian equities, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.7 percent by 1130 GMT, putting it on course for 1.5 percent rise this week. The MSCI index of global shares, set for a similar gain, was up 0.3 percent. As the dollar firmed, the euro, closely linked to the bloc's debt crisis, dipped back to $1.30, but remained close to the two-week high of $1.3032 hit on Thursday. "Nothing really dramatic has happened this week and as long as the U.S. jobs data do not completely distort the picture later the general mood will probably remain cautious optimism," said Berenberg economist Holger Schmieding. "The overall trend for markets remains up because of expectations of more monetary easing by the Federal Reserve and the ECB restoring confidence in the future of the euro." ECB ASSURANCES Markets were also reassured by comments on Thursday from ECB President Mario Draghi that the bank was primed to buy Spain's bonds if it requested aid, meaning that Europe now had a "fully effective backstop mechanism in place" to protect the euro. Senior euro zone central bank sources told Reuters on Friday that the ECB was preparing for two months of large scale purchases once it deployed its programme, after which it would assess the situation. Gloomier news came from Germany where industrial orders fell 1.3 percent, far more than expected. The chill from the euro zone was also felt in Malaysia where exports suffered their biggest year-on-year drop in nearly three years. It was Draghi's pledge though that dominated bond market sentiment ahead of next week's meeting of euro zone finance ministers, the IMF's annual meeting in Tokyo and debt auctions from Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. German government bonds were little changed at midday, Portuguese 10-year yields fell to a three-week low following Lisbon's partial return to bond markets this week, while Italian and Spanish 10-year bond yields also edged lower. "The big focus is anything we hear on Spain but it's almost a game of cat and mouse." said Schmieding. "If bond yields stay where they are at the moment then Spain doesn't have to ask for help, but bond yields are only where they are because the market expects Spain to ask for help so eventually the game has to stop." RAND RAGE Tensions remained high in South Africa as unrest in the country's dominant mining sector spread. The rand fell 1.2 percent, close to a three-year low. Worries were further compounded after Shell declared force majeure on fuel deliveries in South Africa's economic hub of Gauteng province due to a two-week strike by more than 20,000 truck drivers. In Asia, the Japanese yen remained firm against the dollar and the euro after the Bank of Japan, as expected, took no new monetary easing measures.. The growing appetite for riskier assets lifted the Australian dollar away from a one-month low to $1.0267. Russia's central bank also kept interest rates unchanged, indicating that inflationary risks remain and playing down signs of an economic slowdown. After jumping 4 percent on Thursday on supply fears, profit taking and worries about weak global economies ahead of the U.S. data saw oil prices dip 71 cents to $111.85. Gold, a safe-haven asset and a hedge against inflation as central banks flood the economy with cheap money, hit a new 11-month high of $1,795.69 an ounce. Schmieding at Berenberg said he expected central bank support to continue to underpin risk markets.
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