* Stocks gain, gold eases as EU bank worries fade
* Busy week includes talk by Fed's Yellen, China Q2 GDP
* Oil near three-month lows despite violence in Gaza
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, July 14 Asian shares rose on Monday as
investors put aside concerns about euro zone banks and looked
forward to corporate earnings and a raft of global economic
events, including testimony from the head of the Federal
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was up 0.4 percent, with Seoul putting
on 0.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei bounced 0.88 percent
after several sessions of losses.
Singapore's main index went flat after the
city-state reported a surprise 0.8 percent annualised
contraction in economic activity for the second quarter, led by
a steep drop in manufacturing. [TOP/CEN>
Financial spreadbetters expected the FTSE 100 to
open up 0.1 percent, the DAX 0.3 percent and the CAC 40
European markets had calmed on Friday as investors decided
that losses associated with the founding family of Banco
Espirito Santo were unlikely to disrupt Portugal's
financial system or revive broader worries about the bloc's
The S&P 500 EMini contract was trading up 0.2 percent
on Monday, after the cash index ended with similar gains
on Friday. The Dow closed up 0.17 percent, while the
Nasdaq added 0.44 percent.
Attention will be on shares in Citigroup, which
sources said it would announce on Monday a deal to pay $7
billion to resolve a U.S. government investigation into shoddy
Many of the major U.S. banks report earnings this week,
along with big tech names including Intel Corp, Yahoo
Inc, eBay Inc and Google Inc.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's two-day appearance in
the U.S. Congress from Tuesday will dominate global markets,
which want above all to know how long rates might stay near zero
once the central bank ends its asset-buying programme.
The futures market <0#FF:> rallied sharply last week as
investors again pushed out the likely timing of a rate hike into
the second half of 2015.
Data from the U.S. this week includes retail sales,
industrial production and several housing indicators.
In Asia, China reports gross domestic product (GDP) for the
second quarter on Wednesday, along with other data including
retail sales for June.
Analysts estimate the Chinese economy grew 7.4 percent
compared to the same quarter last year, aided by modest
government stimulus measures, and anything less would be likely
to unsettle markets.
The Bank of Japan concludes a two-day meeting on Tuesday and
might have to trim its growth forecasts in the wake of
disappointing second-quarter data, though it is expected to keep
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will speak at
the European Parliament later on Monday while the EU 28 Summit
on Wednesday will see Jean Claude Juncker confirmed as EC
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and his deputy Andrew
Bailey face questions from the British parliament on Tuesday,
while jobs figures the day after will influence the outlook for
Currency markets were quiet on Monday with the dollar index
a touch firmer at 80.226, a level it has gravitated
towards since recovering from a two-month low of 79.740 on July
1. The euro bought $1.3602, having stuck to a tight range
around $1.3600 for over a week now.
Against the yen, the greenback fetched 101.41,
holding off a seven-week trough of 101.06 plumbed last Thursday.
The euro was near 137.95 yen, recovering from last
week's fall to a five-month low of 137.50.
Gold slipped back to $1,328.50 an ounce, and away
from a 3-1/2 month high of $1,345 reached last week. Prices for
the safe-haven metal had been supported in part by the
intensified fighting in Gaza.
Yet oil markets seem to have become less concerned that the
violence in the Middle East would affect fuel supply in any
major way, pulling prices lower over the last few weeks.
On Monday, Brent crude oil was off 2 cents at
$106.64 a barrel, not far from a three month-trough of $106.27.
U.S. crude shed 42 cents to $100.41 per barrel.
(Editing by Richard Borsuk, Kim Coghill & Eric Meijer)