(Bloomberg) — Asian stocks rose while the dollar held gains, with a gauge measuring the U.S. currency against major peers headed for its biggest weekly advance since January, before data on the U.S. jobs market. Oil in New York climbed.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.6 percent by 1:06 p.m. in Tokyo, paring its first drop in five weeks. Japan’s Topix index is heading for a more-than seven-year high. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed after the gauge rose for the first time in three days. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is up 1 percent this week, with the greenback near an 11-year high to the euro. U.S. oil has gained 2.8 percent this week.
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A gauge of global equities is less than 1 percent from an intraday record struck Feb. 26 after the European Central Bank clarified a plan for buying 60 billion euro ($ 66 billion) of assets a month from Monday. Friday’s payrolls report may offer clues to the timing of U.S. rate increases, after new claims for jobless benefits rose to a nine-month high. Diverging outlooks of the U.S. and other countries have seen the dollar rise against most global peers this year.
“The euro’s sharp plunge is elevating the dollar,” Takeru Kurokawa, an analyst in Tokyo at Ueda Harlow Ltd., which provides margin-trading services, wrote in a note to clients. “Payrolls within expectations should be dollar supportive.”
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The euro was little changed at $ 1.1027 after touching $ 1.0988 Thursday, its weakest intraday level since September 2003. The currency is headed for a weekly loss of 1.5 percent, also its third straight retreat. European stocks surged Thursday, with Germany’s DAX Index climbing to a record.
The ECB will buy assets “in any case until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation” toward the bank’s aim, Draghi told reporters on Thursday. The purchases will include securities with negative yields up to the bank’s deposit rate of minus 0.2 percent.
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ECB officials also revised higher projections for economic growth, partly due to a drop in oil prices, and expect gross domestic product to expand 1.5 percent this year, 1.9 percent in 2016 and 2.1 percent in 2017.
The Topix rose 0.8 percent toward its highest close since December 2007. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 0.9 percent to an almost 15-year high as Uny Group Holdings Co. climbed 4.6 percent after FamilyMart Co., Japan’s third-largest convenience store operator, said it’s in talks with the department store chain about a possible merger.
The Kospi index in Seoul gained 0.5 percent while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.8 percent after reaching a record earlier in the week. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.3 percent, driven lower by mining companies after the price of iron ore slid below $ 60 per dry metric ton at China’s Qingdao port for the first time since at least 2009. The Australian dollar strengthened 0.4 percent to 78.11 U.S. cents and is little changed for the week.
The Hang Seng Index fluctuated in Hong Kong and a gauge of Chinese companies listed in the city was little changed after sinking more than 5 percent in the previous three trading days.
China’s yuan was little changed at 6.2648 to the greenback today. The People’s Bank of China has weakened the currency’s reference rate versus the dollar for the last four weeks in a row, the longest streak since May. The central bank cut interest rates for the second time in three months last weekend.
The 2015 growth goal for Asia’s largest economy was set at about 7 percent on Thursday, down from last year’s target of about 7.5 percent. Data due Sunday may show exports swung back to growth in February, while imports dropped for a fourth straight month, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Snowfall in parts of the U.S. may have caused some workers to have been temporarily dismissed, leading to the increase in unemployment claim filings for last week. Friday’s jobs data may show employers added 235,000 workers to nonfarm payrolls in February, while the unemployment rate is expected to drop to 5.6 percent, matching a more than six-year low.
The Fed has said it will remain patient when it comes to boosting borrowing costs, even as the economy shows signs of improvement. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major peers, was little changed. The yen added 0.2 percent to 119.94 per dollar, headed for a third straight weekly drop.
Gold was 0.2 percent higher at $ 1,200.26 an ounce today, heading for its fifth decline in six weeks. A measure of 30-day historic volatility in the U.S. dollar-denominated spot price has fallen to the lowest since November. While it’s up just 1.3 percent in dollar terms this year, the yellow metal has risen 11 percent in euros, 6 percent in Australian dollars and 2.3 percent when priced in China’s yuan.
West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.7 percent to $ 51.13 a barrel after sliding 1.5 percent on Thursday. While WTI is up this week, Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half the world’s oil, has lost 2.5 percent. Brent was 0.9 percent higher at $ 61.03 in London today.
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at [email protected] Sandy Hendry
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