January 13, 2014 / 8:56 AM / in 4 years

Turkish stocks rise as U.S. data ease stimulus worries

* Weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data ease tapering fears

* Turkish stocks rise in line with emerging markets

* Lira slips as corruption scandal weighs

By Dasha Afanasieva

ISTANBUL, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Turkish stocks rose on Monday as weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data calmed fears that a faster cut in U.S. stimulus would stem cheap capital inflows, but a wide-ranging Turkish graft probe continued to rattle the lira.

U.S. employers hired the fewest number of workers in almost three years in December, nonfarm payrolls showed on Friday, surprising markets and helping lift the Turkish lira off Thursday’s record lows.

But the setback was likely to be temporary amid signs that unusually cold weather may have had an impact. Turkish analysts will watch Tuesday’s retail sales and Thursday inflation figures keenly for further clues on the Fed’s tapering path.

Turkey is particularly vulnerable to a cut in U.S. bond buying, which is set to take its first $10 billion reduction this month, because it depends on cheap capital inflows to finance its gaping current account deficit.

Tuesday’s November current account balance data should show whether efforts to shrink the deficit, running at more than 7 percent of GDP, were proving effective.

The main Istanbul index was up 0.56 percent at 68,294 points by 0853 GMT, broadly in line with the main emerging market index, which rose 0.68 percent.

The lira was under pressure because of concerns about fallout from a government battle against a corruption scandal.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to push ahead with judicial reforms which critics say will give the government more control over the appointment of judges and prosecutors.

The government moves followed a corruption scandal which has led to the resignation of three ministers and damaged the ruling party before elections this year.

Having recovered from last week’s record lows, the lira slipped to 2.1725 against the dollar from 2.1660 late on Friday.

“We expect average Turkish lira/$ to increase from 1.90 in 2013 to 2.10 in 2014 due to recent domestic developments ahead of this year’s local and presidential elections,” a note from Odeabank said.

With no trades yet on Monday, the yield on Turkey’s 10-year benchmark bond stood at Friday’s 9.95 percent. (editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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