* European shares rise as tech stocks enjoy rebound
* Apple shares jump 8 pct premarket on buyback, results
* New Zealand dollar up as central bank hikes rates, again
* Euro/dollar implied volatility at lowest since 2007
By Marc Jones
LONDON, April 24 Global stocks rose on Thursday
lifted by upbeat earnings from tech heavyweights Apple and
Facebook which helped shake off some of the concerns about
overheating that have dented the sector in recent weeks.
Wall Street and particularly the Nasdaq were
expected to start brightly when trading restarts on what will be
another full day of company earnings made even busier by a
liberal helping of unemployment and durable goods data.
European bourses were also performing strongly, with more
M&A activity and reassuring economic data helping to lift the
FTSE 100 0.7 percent to its highest in six weeks and the
DAX and the CAC 40 in Frankfurt and Paris 0.7
and 1 percent.
The gains were boosted by the region's tech stocks
and came after iPhone and computer maker Apple reported
record first quarter sales after hours on Wednesday and laid out
plans for a $30 billion share buy back and seven-for-one stock
Its shares jumped almost 8 percent to $566.50, the highest
since December, adding roughly $35 billion to its market worth.
Facebook shares jumped 3.7 percent as the social
networking company topped Wall Street's expectations.
"The tech news from Apple and Facebook has given a lot of
energy to markets," said Chris Beauchamp, a market strategist at
IG Index. "(European) company news has been generally better
today so I think their is lot more reason to be positive... and
(ECB President) Mario Draghi hasn't said anything to spook
investors on the euro either."
Draghi reiterated that the ECB was prepared to embark on
what he called a "broad-based asset purchase programme" if low
inflation become entrenched. There was also more discussion
about the problem of the euro's strength. [ID:nL6N0NG2QJ ]
The currency dipped after the comments but the move quickly
ran out of steam and it was back to be little changed on the day
at $1.3819 as U.S. trading gathered momentum.
French and German sentiment surveys both came out with
more-or-less steady readings on Thursday bolstering signs of
The currency was also underpinned as the amount of "excess"
cash at banks dropped below 100 billion euro - a level that
could start to see market borrowing costs rise - for first time
With risk appetite revived, euro zone government bonds took
a breather after their recent strong run while emerging market
currencies were broadly back in favour.
In commodity markets, oil prices recouped some of the losses
suffered after U.S. crude inventories hit a record high, with
the crisis in Ukraine keeping a floor under the market.
Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow separatists in
the east of the country, the Interior Ministry said, as Russian
President Vladimir Putin warned of "consequences" if Kiev used
the army against its own people.
The comment came as U.S. President Barack Obama said that
more sanctions were "teed up" against Russia if it does not
deliver on promises in an agreement in Geneva last week to ease
Brent crude for June delivery added 25 cents to
$109.36 a barrel, while U.S. crude gained 32 cents to
Gold edged back to $1,270.50 an ounce as it slipped
to a fresh 2-1/2 month low.
Earlier, Asian markets managed only a subdued response to
the upbeat Apple and Facebook sentiment, as the normal fillip
from positive tech news failed to materialise.
The Nikkei slipped 0.97 percent with some investors
apparently disappointed that a meeting between Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama made no
concrete progress on a trade deal.
Markets were mixed elsewhere across the region with
Singapore up 0.5 percent, but Shanghai off 0.3
percent. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside
Japan edged ahead by a tenth of a percent.
The main mover in currencies was the New Zealand dollar,
which hopped higher after the country's central bank raised
interest rates by a quarter point to 3 percent and signalled
more tightening to come.
The kiwi gained around a third of a cent to $0.8623
before cooling to $0.8565.
(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)