* Strong Empire State and PPI figures help lift dollar
* World Bank sees stronger growth in 2014
* Aussie dollar slumps to 3-1/2 year low after jobs report
By Dominic Lau
TOKYO, Jan 16 The dollar rose to a one-week high
against the yen on Thursday, as robust U.S. data and upbeat
earnings from Bank of America helped offset concerns of a U.S.
slowdown following December's disappointing payroll numbers.
European shares were expected to open firmer, ahead of the
euro zone inflation data, according to financial bookmakers,
after scaling 5-1/2 year highs on Wednesday.
Australian shares led the charge higher in Asia,
with a gain of 1.2 percent, while MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan
Index added 0.1 percent.
"Firm data are pointing to improvement in the U.S. economy,
assuring that its strength will guide emerging markets higher,"
said Ko Seung-hee, a market analyst at SK Securities.
U.S. producer prices posted their biggest gain in six months
in December as the cost of gasoline rebounded strongly, but
inflation pressure remained generally benign.
Separately, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said the
Empire State gauge of manufacturing in New York state jumped to
its highest level in 20 months in January as new orders soared.
Japan's Nikkei erased early gains to end down 0.4
percent, however. The benchmark logged its best one-day rise in
four months on Wednesday, a day after suffering its worst
session in five months.
Overnight, U.S. stocks gained, with the Standard & Poor's
500 climbing to an all-time closing high on the back of
the economic data and strong quarterly earnings from Bank of
The second-largest U.S. bank said quarterly profit surged
nearly $3 billion as revenue increased and mortgage losses
plunged in the clearest sign yet the bank was shaking off the
impact of the financial crisis.
"The news from Bank of America's fourth-quarter numbers
suggest the U.S. earnings season is in for a solid beat," Evan
Lucas, market strategist at financial spreadbetter IG in
Melbourne, wrote in a note.
Other U.S. banks have also done well so far in this
quarterly earnings season, with JPMorgan Chase & Co and
Wells Fargo & Co both reporting better-than-expected
results this week.
Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are to report later
in the day, followed by Morgan Stanley on Friday.
Bellwether General Electric will also unveil results on
Adding to the positive tone, the World Bank raised its
forecast for global growth for the first time in three years as
advanced economies started to pick up their pace, led by the
The World Bank predicted global gross domestic product will
expand 3.2 percent this year from 2.4 percent in 2013.
Buoyed by the upbeat data, the dollar regained some of its
swagger after being battered by the surprisingly weak nonfarm
It gained 0.2 percent to 104.735 yen, adding to a 0.3
percent rise overnight and a far cry from a four-week low of
102.85 set on Monday.
In Japan, core machinery orders jumped in November for the
second straight month of gains, a sign companies may be ready to
ramp up investment and increase wages.
Against the euro, the greenback was down a tad at $1.3618
, having gained 0.3 percent overnight.
"We remain bullish on the USD and see scope for further
downside in EUR/USD and GBP/USD in the near-term," BNP Paribas
analysts wrote in a note.
The dollar was a touch softer against a basket of
major currencies at 80.971, after rallying 0.4 percent on
The Aussie dollar fell to a 3-1/2 year low of
$0.8797 after a weak jobs report cast doubt on market
perceptions that the Reserve Bank of Australia was done cutting
Among commodities, gold edged up 0.1 percent at
$1,241.89 an ounce, steadying after having hit a near one-week
low of $1,234.10 on Wednesday as the dollar rallied.
U.S. crude futures were largely steady at $94.22 a
barrel, not far from a two-week high of $94.64 set in the
previous day after U.S. government data showed a
larger-than-expected drop in inventories.