* Upbeat U.S. payrolls data adds to investor risk appetite
* Yen wallows near 10-week low against the dollar
* Euro steady, ECB policy meeting eyed
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, April 3 Asian shares nudged higher to
four-month highs in early trade on Thursday as upbeat U.S. data
underpinned risk appetite, leaving the safe-haven yen
languishing at 10-week lows.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
added 0.1 percent to brush a new four-month
high. The index has rebounded about 6 percent from a five-week
low hit on March 20, supported by receding tensions in Ukraine
and hopes China will take steps to stimulate its sagging
Australian shares were up 0.2 percent.
The early cue for investors came from another
record-breaking performance on Wall Street, with the S&P 500
closing at an all-time high on Wednesday as markets lapped up
another set of solid private-sector jobs and factory orders
The data bolstered expectations for a strong U.S. nonfarm
payrolls report on Friday and pushed U.S. Treasury yields
higher, which in turn kept the dollar well bid.
The yen remained on the backfoot as its safe-haven appeal
continued to fade. The dollar traded at 103.86 yen,
within striking distance of a 10-week high of 103.935 hit on
The outlook for the Japanese currency remains weak. It is
expected to lose ground as persistently low inflation and an
economy hurt by a sales tax is likely to force the Bank of Japan
to ramp up its own stimulus just as the Federal Reserve winds
down its own.
The euro was little changed at $1.3767 against the
dollar ahead of an European Central Bank policy meeting later in
The single currency plumbed a one-month low of $1.3704 last
week amid heightened speculation the ECB would ease.
"The failure to act could trigger another wave of euro
buying, similar to last month," currency strategists at Brown
Brothers Harriman wrote in a note to clients.
"On the other hand, if the ECB does not ease, the market
could ease for them by taking the euro lower," they added.
In the commodities markets, gold remained firm after posting
its biggest gain in three weeks on Wednesday on bargain hunting.
Spot bullion traded at $1289.99 an ounce, not far off
Wednesday's session high of $1,294.60.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)