* Spreadbetters say Asian gains unlikely to cheer Europe
* MSCI Asia rises to fresh 3-year highs, on track for weekly
* Japan's Nikkei pushes to 5-1/2-month high
* Dollar inches down from highs hit on robust U.S. jobs
* Euro remains under pressure after Draghi waxes dovishly
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, July 4 Asian shares rose to a three-year
peak on Friday, though the dollar inched away from overnight
highs hit on U.S. jobs data which underscored the strength of
the economic recovery.
European stocks were seen taking a breather after recent
gains, with financial spreadbetters expecting Britain's FTSE 100
to open 3 points higher and Germany's DAX to
open between flat and 1 point higher, both unchanged in
France's CAC 40 was expected to edge 7 points lower,
or 0.2 percent.
"Given the strong gains seen already this week, and the
absence of U.S. markets for the 4th July Independence Day long
weekend, it seems likely that we will probably see a fairly
quiet end to what has been a very positive week, with European
markets set to open pretty much where they finished off
yesterday," said CMC Markets senior analyst Michael Hewson in a
note to clients.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was up 0.2 percent, touching its highest levels
since May 2011 and on track for a weekly gain of 1.7 percent.
Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.6 percent to hit
a 5-1/2-month high, and gained 2.3 percent for the week.
"The data is driving investors today, and there is no
incentive to sell," said Kyoya Okazawa, head of global equities
and commodity derivatives at BNP Paribas in Tokyo.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 288,000 last month and the
unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent. Employment has grown at
more than 200,000 in each of the last five months, the first
such streak since the late 1990s.
The report helped the Dow Jones industrial average
pass the 17,000 milestone and the benchmark S&P 500 rise
to within 1 percent of the 2,000 level.
The data also pushed up the benchmark U.S. Treasury yield to
a two-month high, which in turn burnished the dollar's appeal.
The benchmark 10-year yield last stood at 2.641
percent, not far from its U.S. close of 2.648 percent on
Thursday, when it rose as high as 2.69 percent.
The dollar edged slightly down against the yen to 102.04 yen
, but remained not far from a two-week peak of 102.26 yen
touched on Thursday, when it marked its largest daily gain in a
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a
basket of rivals, stood 80.225, steady from late U.S.
levels after marking a one-week high of 80.315 in the wake of
the jobs report.
Recent economic data had painted a more ambiguous picture of
the U.S. growth outlook, and had given investors no reason to
believe that the Federal Reserve would be hiking interest rates
anytime soon. That had pushed down U.S. Treasury yields and
dented the dollar.
The U.S. unit's outlook hinges on what the Fed does next,
particularly after the strong labour numbers, market
participants and strategists said.
"The dollar's gains look limited considering how strong the
jobs data was, as participants are still unsure how U.S.
inflation pans out," said Junichi Ishikawa, market analyst at IG
Securities in Tokyo.
"The possibility of Fed's Chair Janet Yellen shifting to a
more hawkish stance has added to the uncertainty. Upcoming data
such as retail sales, consumer prices and personal consumption
expenditure (PCE) may help clear the mist, if they point to an
inflationary trend taking hold."
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi sounded a
dovish note himself on Thursday at a news conference after the
ECB decided to hold interest rates unchanged, adding to pressure
on the European currency. Draghi said that risks facing the euro
zone economy mean that rates will stay low for an extended
The euro was down about 0.1 percent on the day at $1.3599
, just above Thursday's one-week low of $1.3596.
In commodities, spot gold inched down to $1,321.60 an
ounce after dropping in line with the stronger dollar, and the
record highs on Wall Street diminished its safe-haven appeal.
U.S. crude was down about 0.1 percent from late U.S.
trade at $103.97 a barrel. It was on track to post its biggest
weekly loss in a month on receding worries about supply from
Libya and Iraq, although expectations of an improvement in the
outlook for demand in the world's top oil consumer checked its
Copper was steady at $7,176.25 a tonne after earlier
hitting a 4-1/2 month high, and looked set for its biggest
weekly advance since September last year.
(Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by
Eric Meijer & Kim Coghill)