* Stocks rise for second session, put aside geopolitical
* Euro on defensive ahead of German sentiment index
* Oil prices stay near recent lows, gold dips
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, Aug 12 Asian shares nudged higher on
Tuesday, tracking rallies in the United States and Europe as
investors seemed to put aside geopolitical concerns, at least
for the moment.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
added 0.3 percent after jumping 1.5 percent on
Monday. Japan's Topix rose 0.5 percent, while the Nikkei
firmed 0.3 percent.
Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.3 percent
after the city-state reported annualised economic growth of 0.1
percent in the second quarter when analysts had expected a
slight contraction. Strength in the financial sector helped
offset sluggish manufacturing activity.
There was also promising news on global trade with the
Philippines enjoying its fastest export growth in six months in
The better mood came even though NATO chief Anders Fogh
Rasmussen warned of a "high probability" that Russia, using the
guise of a humanitarian mission, could intervene militarily in
Ukraine has also said that, contrary to Russian reports of
de-escalating, Russia has massed 45,000 troops on its border.
Investors also monitored Iraq, where the United States
recently began air strikes targeting Islamic State fighters
marching on the country's Kurdish capital.
None of this seemed to faze Wall Street, where the Dow
rose 0.10 percent on Monday, while the S&P 500
gained 0.28 percent and the Nasdaq 0.70 percent.
Eight of the S&P's 10 primary sector indexes ended higher.
Consumer staples shares posted the highest increases as the
sector's index rose 0.8 percent, while energy and
utilities shares dragged.
Shares of Kinder Morgan Inc, the biggest U.S.
pipeline company, jumped 9 percent on news it would put all its
publicly traded units under one roof in a $70 billion deal.
EURO ON DEFENSIVE
Yet there was enough of a safe-haven bid to keep Treasuries
underpinned with yields on U.S. 10-year paper at
2.433 percent, not far from last week's 14-month lows.
Major currencies were fenced in narrow ranges, with the U.S.
dollar index a shade firmer at 81.545 after drifting in a
82 tick-range on Monday, a far cry from Friday's 336 tick-range.
The dollar bought 102.28 yen, off Friday's low of
101.51, while the euro fetched 136.80 yen, still well
off a trough of 135.73 plumbed on Friday.
Geopolitical concerns and sanctions against Russia will
probably be reflected in a closely watched survey on German
morale due later in the day, analysts at BNP Paribas said.
"We expect the headline expectations measure to fall to its
lowest levels since the immediate aftermath of the EUR crisis in
early 2013," they wrote in a note to clients.
Such an outcome might keep the euro under pressure. The
common currency last traded at $1.3371, still struggling
after hitting a nine-month low of $1.3333 a few days ago.
In commodities, oil prices remained in a rut amid plentiful
supply. Brent crude futures eased 19 cents to $104.49 a
barrel, while U.S. crude lost 28 cents to $97.80 per
Spot gold slipped a couple of dollars to $1,306.10 an
(Editing by Richard Borsuk)