* Asian shares track U.S. gains despite weak retail sales
* Nikkei bucks trend and tumbles as yen rises
* Dollar wallows close to nearly 3-week low vs euro
* China inflation in line with expectations
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, Feb 14 Asian shares mostly rose on Friday
while the U.S. dollar struggled to regain traction after
downbeat U.S. economic data pushed it to a nearly three-week low
against the euro.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
added about 0.7 percent, on track for its
biggest weekly gain since September.
European stocks were expected to open mixed on Friday, as
the soft U.S. data kept investors cautious ahead of
fourth-quarter growth data for the euro zone. Analysts polled by
Reuters expect slightly faster growth in the 17-nation economy.
"Despite the recent run up in equities over the last few
days, the signals from the real economy seem to suggest that
there is a dislocation between the two," Jonathan Sudaria, a
dealer at London Capital Group, wrote in a note to clients.
Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100
to open 4 to 16 points lower, or down as much as 0.2 percent;
Germany's DAX to open 4 to 18 points higher, or up as
much as 0.2 percent; and France's CAC 40 to open 4
points lower to 4 points higher, or a move of 0.1 percent.
Japan's Nikkei stock average underperformed its
Asian counterparts, erasing an initial bounce and tumbling 1.5
percent to mark its sixth straight weekly loss, as the yen
"Japanese stocks have trouble advancing as overseas
investors have become reticent," said Kenichi Hirano, a
strategist at Tachibana Securities in Tokyo.
Markets in mainland China and Hong Kong also crept higher,
set for their biggest weekly gains since September, recovering
from the recent rout from emerging markets despite mixed signals
from Chinese inflation data.
China's consumer inflation remained at a seven-month low in
January while factory gate prices fell for a 23rd consecutive
month, broadly in line with market expectations and consistent
with other recent data showing economic weakness.
This gave investors no reason to expect any change to the
central bank's monetary policy stance, though it also suggested
the economy continues to face headwinds.
"This is a dead cat bounce," said Hong Hao, Bank of
Communications International's chief equity strategist.
"Everybody's looking for a trade with the selloff, but
inconsistent China data does not seem to point to any meaningful
On Wall Street on Thursday, investors managed to shrug off
the dour U.S. economic data. The Dow Jones industrial average
, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite all
marked gains, despite a storm that battered many eastern states.
U.S. retail sales fell unexpectedly in January, while
separate data showed more claims for jobless benefits last week,
against a backdrop of unusually bad weather.
The dollar softened on the U.S. reports, which helped point
Asian emerging markets currencies towards weekly gains. The
Indonesian rupiah hit a near 11-week high on Friday,
after data showed that country's current account deficit
narrowed sharply in the fourth quarter.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes
stood at 2.717 percent in Asian trade, compared with Thursday's
U.S. close of 2.736 percent.
U.S. yields rallied this week after the U.S. Congress
approved an increase in the debt limit and incoming Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen maintained the central bank's
commitment to gradually withdraw its stimulus.
Against the yen, the greenback's early gains unravelled, and
it slumped about 0.4 percent on the day to 101.75 yen,
moving away from Thursday's session high of 102.58 yen.
The dollar index slumped about 0.1 percent to 80.251,
though it remained above Thursday's low of 80.194, a level last
seen on Jan. 24.
The euro was holding steady at $1.3676, not far from
the previous session's high of $1.3692, which was its highest
since Jan. 27.
In commodities trading, U.S. crude slipped about 0.2
percent to $100.13 a barrel after skidding on the previous
session's dismal U.S. data. Brent crude also edged down
about 0.1 percent to $108.40.
Spot gold added about 0.3 percent in Asian trading to
$1,306.90 an ounce, after hitting a three-month high of
$1,307.80 earlier in the session.
The U.S. data gave gold futures a lift and helped them post
their eighth straight gaining session - the longest winning
streak since July 2011.