* Asian shares edge up as Wall St weathers mixed jobs report
* Yen gives some ground to dollar, helps underpin Nikkei
* US crude oil tops $100 a barrel thanks to cold
* Busy week ahead with Fed's Yellen, data from China and EU
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, Feb 10 Most Asian markets made guarded
gains on Monday, encouraged that Wall Street was able to weather
a seemingly disappointing U.S. jobs report, though there was
more than enough event risk ahead to keep investors cautious.
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.
Japan's Nikkei led the way with a rise of 1.3
percent to 14,668, and away from last week's trough at 13,995.
"In the short-term, investors are covering their short
positions as risk appetite has come back," said Nobuhiko
Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities.
"But they are not yet confident about further market rises
until they get assurance for U.S. policy and growth at Yellen's
testimony this week."
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
inched up 0.3 percent, while Shanghai
added 1.7 percent.
Japanese shares found further comfort in a softening yen
with the dollar grinding up to 102.41, though it failed
to clear resistance around 102.60. The dollar was a shade firmer
on the euro at $1.3625, 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 the number of people employed
nudged 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 2.68 percent.
In commodities, oil prices initially extended their recent
gains as persistently cold weather across the U.S. continued to
eat into heating fuel stocks.
U.S. crude made an early six-week peak at $100.46 a
barrel but could not force its way past the December high at
$100.75. Brent crude oil futures gave up 46 cents of
last week's gains to stand at $109.20 a barrel.
Spot gold was also firm at $1,268.24 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 forecast 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
because of 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.