Asia shares, crude oil buoyant; euro near three-month lows

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares climbed on Monday and crude oil rose to a 2-year top, while the euro loitered around a 3-month low as the European Central Bank’s decision to extend its stimulus further fattened the dollar’s yield advantage.

A man looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added 0.2 percent. The index is up 3.4 percent so far this month.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 nudged 0.2 percent higher, while Seoul shares .KS11 climbed 0.7 percent.

Global share markets have been on an uptrend since the start of the year, helped by solid corporate earnings and positive economic data across major countries.

The world share index .MIWD00000PUS has surged 17.6 percent so far in 2017.

“The continuation of quantitative easing (QE) in Europe at a time when Japan remains locked on QE and the U.S. is only tightening gradually highlights that global monetary conditions will remain easy for a long while yet,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.

“This along with strong economic growth and earnings, largely explains why global share markets are so strong.”

On Friday, the Nasdaq .IXIC added 2.2 percent, the S&P 500 .SPX climbed 0.81 percent and the Dow .DJI rose 0.14 percent.

Amazon (AMZN.O), up 13.2 percent, was responsible for the biggest boost to the S&P 500 after reporting a quarterly sales surge.

Tech giant Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is due to report on Thursday.

The dollar index .DXY was a touch softer, after two straight days of gains helped by upbeat third-quarter U.S. GDP data. The U.S. economy grew at a 3.0 percent annualized rate from July to September, showing resilience after recent storms.

Investors are now focused on the impending appointment of the Federal Reserve chair, with speculation rife that Fed governor Jerome Powell is the favored suitor.

Wagers that Powell, who markets see as a less hawkish candidate, will be the chosen one tempered the dollar’s advances and dragged 2-year Treasury yields off a nine-year top US2TY=RR. An announcement is expected this week.

“Markets are evidently still intent on having some fun, speculating on whether the next Fed chair will be trying to pull the Fed in a more hawkish direction or whether continuity will be the name of the game,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank.

In Europe, political uncertainty and the ECB together weighed on the common currency, marking its biggest weekly loss of the year.

The euro EUR= steadied at $1.1602, not far from $1.1573 which was the lowest since July 20.

Spain sacked Catalonia’s regional government on Friday, dissolved the Catalan parliament and called a snap election after Catalonia declared independence from Spain.

The ECB’s decision last week to extend its bond purchases into September 2018 also hurt the euro, driving yields on two-year German bunds lower DE2YT=RR.

The premium that 2-year U.S. debt pays over 2-year German yields is now the widest since mid-1999, making it more attractive to borrow in euros to buy dollars.

In commodities, Brent crude LCOc1 rose to $60.63 per barrel, the highest since July 2015, after Saudi Arabia agreed to support the extension of a global oil production cut agreement. [O/R]

U.S. crude CLc1 ticked up 0.32 percent at $54.07 a barrel.

Spot gold XAU= was trading 0.1 percent lower at $1271.20 per ounce. [GOL/]

Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Eric Meijer

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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