Asian shares stabilise

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IOL pic oct28 yellow green market arrows . File photo: Filomena Scalise

Tokyo - Asian shares regained a measure of stability on Friday, stepping further away from five-month lows after a strong night on Wall Street and hopeful signs an upcoming crucial US jobs report will put to bed some of the global growth concerns.

In early trade, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent, a day after the index posted its biggest gains in over two months.

The index bounced 1.6 percent from a five-month low hit on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei also rose 1.8 percent.

A drop in applications for US unemployment insurance and strong earnings helped Wall Street shares post their best day of the year on Thursday while European shares also jumped.

Initial claims for US state unemployment benefits declined 20 000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 331 000, below economists' forecast of 335 000.

While the data has no direct bearing on January's employment report, as it falls outside the survey period, it buoyed the mood after the recent rout in emerging economies raised fresh concerns about the global growth outlook.

Solid US jobs growth will reassure investors that all is well in the world's biggest economy after a surprisingly downbeat report in December.

Economists expect a payroll increase of 185 000 in January. An in-line number should help sooth worries over global growth momentum as China's economy slows down and some emerging economies remain vulnerable due to a flight of capital.

The US Federal Reserve's tapering of its massive stimulus has been one of the factors driving capital out of developing markets as investors seek higher returns in rising US Treasury yields.

The 10-year Treasuries pushed up, yielding 2.704 percent, off a three-month low of 2.570 percent hit on Monday.

Relative calm in vulnerable emerging markets in recent days has seen battered currencies such as the Turkish lira and the South African rand trading off their recent lows.

The euro held near one-week high against the dollar after the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's comment that the euro zone is not plagued by deflation.

Still, he also cautioned the currency bloc's economy remain skewed to the downside and put markets on alert for a possible move in March, acknowledging that emerging-market turbulence could hit the euro zone.

The euro traded at $1.3692, having risen as high as $1.3619 on Thursday, its highest level in a week.

A rise in risk appetite prompted the yen to step back further from a 10-week high hit earlier in the week when concerns over emerging markets were heightened.

The dollar traded at 102.00 yen, off a low of 100.755 yen marked on Tuesday. - Reuters


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