* Host of US earnings due this week, beating forecasts so
* Dollar drifts lower, with wary eye on geopolitical risk
* European bourses seen opening with minor gains
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, July 21 Most Asian stock markets edged
higher on Monday as investors set aside geopolitical concerns
for the moment to focus on the generally upbeat flow of U.S.
corporate earnings ahead of a host of results due this week.
Volumes were very light as Japanese markets took a holiday.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
rose 0.3 percent, with modest increases for most
markets across Asia.
Spread betters predicted opening gains of 0.1 to 0.2 percent
for the FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40.
A crowd of U.S. companies report this week, ranging from
Apple Inc to McDonald's Corp, Coca-Cola Co
and Caterpillar Inc.
Thomson Reuters data showed that of 82 companies in the S&P
500 that had reported earnings through Friday morning, 68
percent beat Wall Street's expectations. That was roughly in
line with the 67 percent rate for the past four quarters and
above the 63 percent rate since 1994.
The Dow ended Friday up 0.7 percent, while the S&P
500 gained 1 percent and the Nasdaq 1.6 percent.
For the week, the Dow rose 0.9 percent, S&P 500 gained 0.5
percent and the Nasdaq added 0.4 percent.
Geopolitical concerns kept U.S. Treasuries and German debt
well underpinned. U.S. 10-year yields were steady at
2.48 percent on Monday, while German bunds were yielding just
1.16 percent having neared all-time lows.
The U.N. Security Council is due to vote Monday on a
resolution that would condemn the downing of a Malaysian
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday laid out what
he said was overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the
downing of the airliner.
In Gaza, Hamas's armed wing said on Sunday it had captured
an Israeli soldier in a nearly two-week military offensive that
has killed hundreds of Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers.
Kerry will travel to Cairo on Monday to meet with Egyptian
officials about the crisis.
After an initial bout of risk aversion, major currencies
have settled into an eerie clam. The dollar index was
steady at 80.513, having retreated from a one-month peak last
Friday when the euro bounced off a five-month trough of $1.3491.
Traders said buying interest below $1.3500 helped squeeze
the euro up to $1.3539. The common currency should see
solid support at $1.3460/80, an area that had provided a floor
on several occasions in the past 10 months or so.
The greenback was at 101.23 yen and not far from last
week's low of 101.09. The euro stood at 137.09 yen,
off a five-month trough of 136.71.
Gold was idling at $1,311.14 an ounce, after last
week's choppy action saw it swing between $1,339 and $1,292.
Crude oil prices were subdued after enjoying only a brief
rally last week. Brent inched up 5 cents to $107.29 a
barrel. U.S. crude fell 24 cents to $102.89 a barrel.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam & Kim Coghill)