* Asian equities broadly higher; Nikkei hits 5-week high
* ECB and BOE signal no rush to withdraw stimulus
* Sterling hits 5-week low, euro slips
* U.S. jobs report pivotal for market bets on Fed tapering
By Masayuki Kitano and Ian Chua
SINGAPORE/SYDNEY, July 5 Asian stocks rose on
Friday, while sterling hit a five-week low, after two of
Europe's most important central banks surprised the market by
assuring investors they were in no hurry to wind down stimulus.
But markets were cautious as they waited for a U.S. jobs
report that could bolster, or derail, the case for the Federal
Reserve to start dialling down its asset-buying programme this
year. The report is due at 1230 GMT.
European shares were seen headed for a mixed open.
Financial spreadbetters expect Britain's FTSE 100 to open around
0.28 percent higher, Germany's DAX to open flat, and France's
CAC 40 to open down 0.11 percent.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
rose 0.7 percent.
Regional shares were broadly higher, with Australian shares
climbing 1 percent and Hong Kong shares rising 1.7
percent. Japan's Nikkei average closed 2.1
percent higher and touched a five-week high.
"The market has welcomed the policy responses that European
central bankers made overnight," said Kyoya Okazawa, head of
global equities and commodity derivatives at BNP Paribas in
Tokyo. "It is bulk-buying of Nikkei futures that's driving
South Korean shares slipped 0.3 percent, lagging
behind Asian peers as index heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co
Ltd slid 3.8 percent after missing quarterly
"Samsung Electronics was an expected negative, yet the
market is still responding sensitively to it. It is a big drag
on the overall market today," said Kim Young-june, a market
analyst at SK Securities.
Asian equities gained a lift after European shares rallied
on Thursday following dovish policy statements by the European
Central Bank and the Bank of England.
Breaking away from its tradition never to precommit on
policy, the European Central Bank declared it would keep
interest rates at record lows for an extended period and may
even cut further. The Bank of England also cautioned investors
they were being too quick to bet on higher UK rates.
Currency investors took the central banks' guidance as a
green light to sell the euro and sterling.
The pound hit a fresh five-week low of $1.5026 on Friday and
last stood at $1.5044, down 0.2 percent on the day.
The euro slipped 0.2 percent to about $1.2893, hovering near
a five-week trough of $1.2883 set on Thursday.
"The unprecedented adoption of forward guidance by the ECB
further increases the divergence in monetary policy versus the
prospect of Fed tapering," said Olivier Korber, strategist at
"The topside risk in euro short rates and therefore in
EUR/USD is drastically reduced for the year to come," he wrote
in a report, advising clients to keep short euro positions.
The firmer greenback weighed on some commodity prices that
are priced in U.S. dollars, with gold slipping 0.8
percent to $1,239.51 an ounce.