GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar gains, shares steady before U.S. jobs data
* Dollar strengthens before 1230 GMT payrolls print * European shares edgy after gains on central bank pledges * Bond markets steady; jobs data key to Fed tapering stance * Firmer dollar hits gold and other commodities By Richard Hubbard LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) - The dollar rose broadly on Friday and commodities fell before a U.S. jobs report that may shed light on how quickly U.S. and European monetary policies diverge. Traders said the dollar could test the three-year high against a basket of currencies hit in May if the payrolls data due at 1230 GMT is strong as it would fan talk of an imminent cut in the Federal Reserve's bond-buying programme. Wall Street was expected to open sharply higher, catching up after the Independence Day holiday with a global rally in stocks that followed pledges of continued stimulus from the European Central Bank and Bank of England. European shares, which had their best day in 11 months on Thursday on the back of the central bank comments, were little changed on Friday as investors trod cautiously in the run-up to data likely to determine the market trend for the rest of the day on both sides of the Atlantic. Economists expect 165,000 new jobs to have been added last month and the U.S. jobless rate to have ticked down to 7.5 percent from 7.6 percent in May, a Reuters poll shows. "If we get nonfarm (payrolls) at 165,000, in line, you keep the (Fed) tapering story in play and you keep the dollar on the front foot," said Daragh Maher, FX strategist at HSBC. "We're looking at a structurally stronger dollar and the euro would be an echo to that," he said. The euro was down 0.25 percent against the dollar, touching a five-week low of $1.2869. The ECB's unprecedented commitment to keep rates low for an extended period also drove the gap between 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds and their German equivalent to its widest since April 2010, giving further support to the dollar. The British pound eased too after the Bank of England, under new governor Mark Carney, sought to guide rates lower by saying recent rises were "not warranted" by economic developments. Sterling was near a four-month low against the dollar, dipping below $1.50 to trade around $1.4985. "Euro and sterling are both reeling after central banks moved to depress short-term rates and said any tightening will lead to a response," said Chris Walker, currency strategist at Barclays. DIVERGENCE LOOMS For equity investors, the impact an early end to the Fed's $85 billion monthly spending on bonds has to be offset against the promise of future policy support from two of Europe's biggest central banks and the ensuing currency weakness. "Anytime you get a weaker currency that's very good news for European domiciled companies that have global revenues," said Patrick Armstrong, chief investment officer at Armstrong Investment Managers. Trading in Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index was jittery after it gained 2.4 percent on Thursday and by midday the index was little changed. MSCI's global share index edged about 0.1 percent higher. Bond markets were steady, with German Bund futures ticking lower, though Portuguese debt recovered some of this week's losses after the country's prime minister reassured investors he could resolve its political crisis. The firmer dollar weighed on some dollar-priced commodities and gold slipped one percent to $1,236.49 an ounce. Copper was down 1.3 percent at $6,857.75 a tonne while Brent crude oil dropped 4 cents a barrel to $105.50.
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