* Gold at new record as dollar struggles
* Stocks up, emerging shares at year high
* Alco earnings lift hopes for Q3 results season
By Jeremy Gaunt, European Investment Correspondent
LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Gold hit a fresh record high on Thursday as the dollar struggled, while emerging market stocks climbed to their highest level this year.
European shares opened more than 1 percent higher ahead of interest rate decisions from the Bank of England and European Central Bank.
Neither was expected to change rates.
Market sentiment was also given a boost after aluminium giant Alcoa (AA.N) posted a surprise profit on Wednesday after three consecutive quarterly losses. [ID:nN07320124]
The company is the first major report in the U.S. third-quarter earnings season.
Spot gold XAU= topped $1,058 per ounce to mark a record high for the third session in a row. It has primarily been driven higher by the weakening dollar, which makes the dollar-denominated metal more attractive to investors.
In some currencies — the high-flying Australian dollar, for example — gold has actually fallen in price this year.
For a graphic on this, click r.reuters.com/fex62f.
“Investors are turning towards gold as a hedge in dollar weakness,” said Adrian Koh, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
The dollar was down 0.7 percent against a basket of major currencies .DXY=, close to its year lows.
The currency has been hit by a combination of expectations that U.S. interest rates will stay low for some time and a belief that the global economy is on the mend, easing the motivation behind last year’s flight to dollar safety.
The Australian dollar AUD= gained 1.4 percent, still benefiting from this week's rate hike. It has now gained nearly 28 percent against the U.S. dollar this year.
World stocks were putting in another positive performance, with MSCI’s all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS up 0.8 percent on the day. Its emerging market counterpart .MSCIEF was up the same amount at a new high for the year.
The two indexes have gained around 27 percent and 65 percent, respectively, this year.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 was up 1.1 percent, boosted in part by commodity related stocks and bullish sentiment over the Alcoa earnings.
“Alcoa had better than anticipated results, which is good. It is now all about anticipating quarter-three earnings. There is a general sense that quarter-three earnings are going to be more positive than expectations,” said Bernard McAlinden, market strategist at NCB Stockbrokers.
Earlier, Japan's Nikkei .N225 closed up 0.3 percent.
Demand for short-dated euro zone debt slipped with the Schatz yield EU10YT=RR at 1.27 percent. (Additional reporting by Joanne Frearson, editing by Mike Peacock)