* Asian markets ending 2013 quietly with Tokyo shut
* Nikkei up 57 pct on year as BOJ action gains traction
* Yen remains under pressure as euro makes the running
* Gold set for its worst year in three decades
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, Dec 31 Global stocks are closing out
2013 sitting on sizable gains courtesy of super-easy monetary
policies and an improving economic outlook, though some emerging
markets have less to crow about as funds return to rich-world
The yen remained on the defensive, having been bowled over
for much of the year by the Bank of Japan's money-printing,
while the euro was again proving surprisingly resilient.
Activity was sparse on Tuesday with Asia absent its star
performer as the Tokyo market is shut for the rest of the week.
On Monday, the Nikkei ended with gains of no less than
56.7 percent for the year in its best performance since 1972.
The rest of the region has been far more patchy, in large
part due to a rotation of funds out of emerging markets and into
European and U.S. assets as those economies improve.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was up 0.23 percent on Tuesday, but hardly
changed from where it started the year.
Markets in Singapore, South Korea and the
Philippines were all but flat for 2013. Shanghai's index
was steady Tuesday but down over 7 percent for the year.
Australia and Taiwan have fared better,
managing gains of 15 percent and 12 percent respectively.
In New York, the S&P 500 finished flat on Monday but
was still ahead 29 percent for the year, the biggest annual gain
since 1997. The Dow has risen 26 percent.
Likewise, most European stock indexes eased on Monday but
stayed on track for their heftiest annual gains in four years.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 16 percent for the year.
The euro has also been performing well, reaching its highest
against the dollar in over two years last week and making a
five-year peak on the yen.
On Tuesday, the single currency was holding firm at $1.3806
to be up more than 4 percent for the year. Against the
yen it was steady at 144.80 yen, while the dollar
eased back just a touch to 104.88 yen.
The euro's resilience has frankly baffled many commentators
and investors, who had expected tough economic conditions in
some member states to weigh on the single currency.
But the euro has been boosted as banks in the region
repatriate funds ahead of the year-end to shore up their capital
bases before an ECB Asset Quality Review and as banks repay
cheap crisis loans to the central bank.
The euro zone has also been running a colossal current
account surplus, worth roughly 206 billion euros in the 12
months to October. That is far larger even than China's trade
surplus and generates a steady and sizable demand for euros from
In commodity markets, hopes for global growth lifted copper
and aluminium to four- and two-month highs.
Safe-haven gold was struggling at $1,197 an ounce,
bringing its loss for the year to 30 percent. The attraction of
equities and a general absence of inflationary pressures have
the precious metal heading for its biggest annual fall in over
Oil prices steadied, having dipped on Monday on signs crude
exports from Libya might return to normal due to a possible end
to a four-month blockage of a key port.
Brent crude recouped 8 cents on Tuesday to stand at
$111.29 a barrel. U.S. oil futures were up 3 cents at
$99.32, but that followed a drop of $1.03 on Monday.