* Global shares near all-time high on ECB easing bets
* German bond yields at lowest levels in a year
* Euro consolidates just above 3-month low
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, May 29 Global shares flirted with an
all-time peak on Thursday while German bond yields held at the
lowest levels in a year on bets the European Central Bank would
unveil new stimulus measures next week.
ECB policymakers have opened the door to a rate cut,
effectively charging banks to hold cash at the central bank
overnight, and to a refinancing operation aimed at supporting
businesses when its board meets on June 5.
Expectations of lower rates pushed German yields
at the lowest levels in a year and on course to
record a fifth consecutive month of declines.
The MSCI World Index, which tracks stocks
from developed economies and has gained 1.4 percent since the
last ECB policy meeting, was up 0.1 percent, a whisker away from
an all-time high set on Wednesday.
The euro, which had fallen around 2 percent against
the dollar over the same period, consolidated just above a
three-month low of $1.3584.
"At least a rate cut is in the price (of the euro and
stocks)," said Joost van Leenders, investment specialist for
allocation and strategy at BNP-Paribas Investment Partners.
"I think markets expect a bit more, something directed at
bank lending, such as purchases of asset-backed securities, and
I don't think that is fully discounted."
Of 48 economists polled by Reuters this week 31 said the
expected combination of a cut in the ECB's deposit rate below
zero and new long-term cash for banks to lend on to small and
medium-sized firms would help boost lending in the euro zone.
European shares held firm near multi-year highs, with the
pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index hovering close to a
near six-year peak reached earlier this week.
U.S. futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall
"The trend is up, the trend's your friend, but I wouldn't
buy up at these levels," said Darren Courtney-Cook, head of
trading at Central Markets Investment Management.
Gold extended losses to a third straight session to fresh
16-week lows, reflecting recent gains in the dollar and weak
physical demand in top buyer China also weighed.
Brent crude rose back above $110 a barrel on signs of
stronger demand from top oil consumer the United States, with a
sharp drop in its gasoline stocks adding to recent data showing
a strengthening economy.
(Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Toby