* Asian shares edge up as Wall St weathers mixed jobs report
* Yen giving ground to dollar, should underpin Nikkei
* US crude oil tops $100 a barrel thanks to cold
* Busy week ahead with Fed's Yellen, China and EU data
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, Feb 10 Asian markets were set for
guarded gains on Monday encouraged that Wall Street was able to
weather a seemingly disappointing U.S. jobs report, though there
is more than enough event risk ahead to keep investors on their
Crucially, the new head of the Federal Reserve, Janet
Yellen, delivers her first testimony to the House on Tuesday and
the senate on Thursday, and markets will be hoping for
reassurance that policy will stay loose for a long time to come.
Early Monday, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan inched up 0.16 percent, while
Australia's market added 0.6 percent. Nikkei futures
pointed to a moderate gain at the open.
Markets took their cue from Wall Street where the Dow gained
1.06 percent and the S&P 500 1.33 percent. The
pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.75 percent and
MSCI's all-country stock index 1.2 percent.
Japanese shares should also find comfort in a softening yen
with the dollar pushing up to 102.58 and probing
resistance around 102.60. The dollar was also a shade firmer on
the euro at $1.3620, against $1.3635 late Friday.
Both stocks and the dollar had initially retreated when the
U.S. payrolls report showed a rise of only 113,000 in January,
well short of forecasts.
However, the damage was limited by a very strong household
survey where a sharp jump in employed nudging the jobless rate
down to 6.6 percent.
The mixed bag left Treasuries little changed with yields on
10-year notes a shade lower at 2.69 percent.
In commodities, oil prices extended their recent gains as
persistently cold weather across the U.S. continued to eat into
heating fuel stocks.
U.S. crude rose 35 cents to its highest in five weeks
at $100.29 a barrel, while Brent crude oil futures were
steady at $109.54 a barrel.
Spot gold was also firm at $1,269.25 an ounce, but
faces stiff resistance from $1,273 to $1,278.
Fed Chair Yellen will be able to offer her own read of the
jobs report before lawmakers this week.
Analysts generally assume she will stick to the script of
recent policy meetings, reiterating that further gradual decline
in asset buying is likely as long as the economy continues to
improve as assumed.
"We expect her to state that tapering is not on a preset
course and the committee will adjust course as needed,
particularly if the expected firming in growth and gains in
payrolls do not persist," wrote analysts at Barclays in a note.
Yellen is also likely to repeat the standard forward
guidance that the funds rate will remain near zero until the
unemployment rate falls well below 6.5 percent, so long as
inflation is subdued.
Major U.S. data includes retail sales on Thursday where a
flat result is forecasts due partly to bad weather and a rise in
In Asia, China releases trade numbers on Wednesday and
consumer prices on Friday. Analysts at Commonwealth Bank of
Australia predict exports will have shrunk in January but mainly
because of significant base effects as January last year saw an
outsized 25 percent increase.
Trade flows can be very volatile in January and February due
to the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday.
The euro zone releases its first estimate of economic growth
on Friday and forecasts favour a slim 0.2 percent increase in
the fourth quarter, which would keep pressure on for more action
from the European Central Bank.
ECB President Mario Draghi gives a speech on "Progress
Through Crisis?" on Wednesday and markets will be sensitive to
any hint of further accommodation to come.
Across the Channel, the Bank of England issues its February
Inflation Report on Wednesday which will likely show muted
prices pressures and so support the outlook for low rates.