* Spreadbetter sees European bourses opening higher
* MSCI Asia touches 3-year peak, Nikkei rises after Japan
* U.S. stock futures edge higher, underpinned by upbeat
* Slumping U.S. Treasury yields still hold back dollar
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, July 22 Asian stocks touched a three-year
peak on Tuesday, despite lingering concerns about crises in
Ukraine and Gaza, while the yen eased against the dollar and the
Financial spreadbetter Capital Spreads expected Britain's
FTSE 100 to open 23 points higher, Germany's DAX
to open 29 points higher and France's CAC 40 to
open 14 points higher, or all up 0.3 percent.
"It certainly seems the battle between geopolitical risk and
U.S. earnings is in play at the moment and we'll continue to see
a tug of war in the near term," IG Market strategist Stan Shamu
said in a note to clients.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
rose about 0.7 percent to its highest since
2011, while Hong Kong's benchmark index reached its
highest level in more than seven months as recent fund inflows
pushed up the territory's blue-chip stocks.
Japan's Nikkei stock average ended up 0.8 percent
after a national holiday closed markets on Monday.
"Investor sentiment has settled as the VIX has stayed calm,"
said Akio Yoshino, chief economist at equity research and
strategy department at Amundi Japan.
The CBOE Volatility Index, which is a gauge of market
risk aversion, jumped 32.2 percent on Friday in Asia, the
biggest percentage rise since April 2013.
U.S. shares slumped overnight, as the rising global tension
offset some upbeat U.S. earnings. So far this reporting period,
66 percent of S&P 500 companies have topped Wall Street's profit
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the 63
percent average since 1994.
But the three major U.S. indexes ended well off their lows,
a sign that some appetite for riskier assets remained, and
S&P 500 E-Mini futures edged higher in Asian trade.
The leader of a Russian-backed separatist group agreed to
hand over the bodies of the victims from last week's downing of
a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over Ukraine, as well as the
plane's two black boxes.
European Union foreign ministers were scheduled on Tuesday
to discuss further penalties against Russia, but the most they
are expected to do is to hasten sanctions against individuals,
and possibly companies, agreed in principle last week before the
plane was brought down.
In the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian death toll jumped to more
than 500 and Israeli losses mounted as the United States stepped
up efforts to secure a ceasefire.
The yen edged down as investors' appetite for risk slowly
returned, but lower U.S. Treasury yields continued to limit the
greenback's gains after safety-seeking investors piled into U.S.
government debt in recent days.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note
stood at 2.474 percent in Asia, not far from its
U.S. close of 2.475 percent.
The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond inched
down to 3.262 percent from its U.S. close of 3.264 percent on
Monday, when it fell as low as 3.249 percent, the lowest since
Investors also awaited U.S. consumer prices data due at 1230
GMT for clues to the timing of monetary tightening by the
The Labor Department is expected to report that U.S.
inflation eased slightly to 0.3 percent in June, after rising
food prices pushed the index to its biggest increase in more
than a year in May.
The dollar edged about 0.1 percent higher on the day against
its Japanese counterpart, to 101.53 yen, while the euro
stood at 137.30 yen, up about 0.1 percent and pulling
away from last Friday's five-month trough of 136.71 yen.
The euro was largely steady at $1.3524, holding above
a five-month low of $1.3491 touched on Friday.
In commodities, U.S. oil for August delivery rose
about 0.4 percent to $104.96 a barrel after earlier topping
$105, as traders covered positions ahead of the contract's
expiry later on Tuesday. Brent crude for September delivery
added 0.2 percent to $107.88.
Spot gold shed about 0.2 percent to $1,308.16 an
(Additional reporting by Ayai Tomisawa and Shinichi Saoshiro in
Tokyo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam & Kim Coghill)