| LONDON, March 31
LONDON, March 31 Global stocks rose on Monday,
as investors looked to close a shaky quarter on a positive note
on expectations of growth-boosting measures from the euro zone
and China, offsetting a reduction in U.S. stimulus.
Markets focused on the flash estimate of euro zone inflation
in March, due at 0900 GMT and likely to cement expectations the
European Central Bank will take fresh steps at Thursday's policy
meeting to counter the threat of deflation.
The median consensus of 36 economists polled by Reuters is
for a decline in annual inflation to just 0.6 percent, which
would be the lowest in over four years and well below the ECB's
target of below but close to 2 percent.
"We expect euro zone inflation to fall to 0.6 percent, with
downside risks, and expect no new measures from the ECB.
However, a big surprise on the downside in today's flash CPI
could prompt some pre-emptive action, though this remains a risk
case," Barclays economists wrote in a note to clients on Monday.
Spain and Germany posted weaker-than-expected inflation data
At 0745 GMT the FTSE EuroFirst 300 index of leading shares
was up 0.5 percent at 1,339 points. Britain's FTSE 100
was up 0.6 percent at 6,655 points, Germany's DAX
was up a third of one percent at 9,619 points and
France's CAC 40 was up a similar amount at 4,425 points.
U.S. stock futures pointed to gains of between a
third and half of one percent across the three major indices.
In Asia, the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan rose 0.9 percent to close at a
three-week high of 137.84 points, on heightened speculation
Beijing will launch new spending measures and on reduced
tensions in Ukraine.
Tokyo's Nikkei stock average also rose 0.9 percent
to a three-week high of 14,827 points, supported by comments
from China's Premier Li Keqiang on Friday that Beijing was ready
to support the cooling economy.
SPANISH BOND BONANZA
In a lacklustre quarter for equity investors, Wall Street
and the main European indices have only managed to eke out
slender gains of around 1 percent as the U.S. Federal Reserve
started trimming the bond-buying stimulus that has fuelled
global investors' appetite for risk.
New Fed chair Janet Yellen said on March 19 that interest
rates could start to rise six months after the bond buying is
finished completely. That could be early next year.
Yellen will speak in Chicago later on Monday and the focus
is on whether she maintains her stance on rates, which the
market has interpreted as hawkish.
The 10-year yield on U.S. Treasuries rose on Monday to 2.75
percent. This lent broad support to the dollar,
which was flat on the day against a basket of six major
currencies at 80.2.
The euro was unchanged at $1.3752, near Friday's
In peripheral euro zone bond markets, Spanish 10-year yields
slipped to 3.23 percent, hovering close to Friday's
eight-year low of 3.2 percent.
Even after six consecutive quarters of decline, the fall in
Spanish 10-year yields accelerated in the first quarter. The
plunge of around 90 basis points in the first three months of
the year is the biggest quarterly fall since the end of 1996.
"The EGB (European government bonds) market is fairly
overbought but should be boosted further by a weak ...
(inflation) figure," said Luca Jellinek, European head of fixed
income at Credit Agricole.
In emerging markets, Turkey's lira hit a two-month high
after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in local
polls that had become a referendum on his rule, stirring hopes
months of political turbulence would ease. The lira
brushed 2.165, its strongest against the dollar since late
In commodities markets, gold fell slightly to
$1,292.50 an ounce, near a six-week low of $1,285.34 hit on
Friday, and U.S. crude oil futures edged down 30 cents to
$101.37 a barrel after settling on Friday at its highest since
(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Additional reporting by Marius
Zaharia in London and Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by