* Asia shares mostly higher, Nikkei ends flat
* Wall St lifted by dovish Yellen, upbeat Fed Beige Book
* Google and IBM fall after hours as earnings disappoint
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, April 17 Asian share markets crept
higher on Thursday as dovish comments from the head of the U.S.
Federal Reserve lifted Wall Street while weighing on the dollar,
with trade light heading into the Easter holidays.
Disappointing results from Google and IBM had also knocked
their shares lower after the bell and put a crimp on technology
stocks in the region.
The tech and telecoms sectors in Japan's Nikkei duly
lost ground, leaving it to end flat for the session following a
3 percent jump the previous day.
Other markets made modest gains with shares in Australia
up 0.5 percent and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific
shares outside Japan adding 0.33 percent.
Early signs were that Europe would also start cautiously
with the FTSE and DAX seen barely changed by
Wall Street had ended Wednesday with more vigour. Both the
Dow and S&P 500 gained about 1 percent, while the
Nasdaq bounced by 1.29 percent.
Yet there was negative news to come after the bell. Google
Inc lost around 4 percent after hours as
first-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street targets and
margins narrowed as the price of its ads continued to decline.
IBM Corp suffered after reporting its lowest
quarterly revenue in five years as it struggles with falling
demand for storage and server products.
Shares of the world's largest technology services company
fell about 4 percent to $188.20 in after-hours trade.
Not helping was the simmering tension in Ukraine where the
interior minister said on Thursday that three pro-Russian
separatists were killed in shooting that broke out overnight in
the town of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.
LOW INFLATION MEANS LOW RATES
Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday said it might take two
years to return to full employment and there was more risk of
inflation staying too low than going too high.
Achieving the Fed's economic goals "will likely require low
real interest rates for some time," a policy view she said was
shared broadly across many advanced economies.
"We read this as a not-so-subtle signal that, although the
committee has gradually begun to remove its outright commitment
to low rates and balance sheet expansion, the Fed is in no hurry
to accelerate the trend or initiate a rate hike cycle," said
Michael Gapen, and economist at Barclays.
The prospect of low rates for longer helped pull down
long-term borrowing costs. Yields on Treasury 30-year bonds
dipped to 3.44 percent and near lows not seen since
July last year.
But that in turn weighed on the dollar which eased back to
101.99 yen from an early high at 102.26. The euro was a
whisker firmer at $1.3840 but well within recent ranges.
Bonds in Europe had extended their spectacular rally amid
speculation that persistently low inflation would force the
European Central Bank to launch further stimulus.
Yields on Spanish 10-year debt sank to their
lowest in over eight years at 3.06 percent, while Italian
10-year yields hit an all-time trough at 3.11
Economic news out of the United States was mixed with
industrial production beating forecasts but housing starts
Still, investors were cheered by the Fed's Beige Book of
anecdotal information on business activity which showed activity
picked up in recent weeks as weather-related drag eased.
Spot gold steadied at $1,301.10 an ounce having found
support in the $1,290/1,293 area after a technical selloff early
in the week.
Brent crude for June eased 12 cents to $109.48 a
barrel. U.S. crude was up 33 cents at $104.09 a barrel,
shrugging off a huge build in stockpiles.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Eric Meijer)