* MSCI Asia-Pacific index down 0.15 pct, Nikkei up 0.5 pct
* Spreadbetters expect European stocks to open higher
* U.S. 10-year yield just above 3 pct, highest since early
* Higher U.S. yields lift dollar index to 3-1/2-mth high
* Euro stuck near 1-1/2-mth low, ECB policy meeting in focus
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, April 26 (Reuters) - Asian stocks were supported on
Thursday by robust corporate earnings that helped Wall Street
quell concerns about the surge in U.S. bond yields. However,
sagging Chinese shares limited the upside potential of the
Spreadbetters expected European stocks to open higher off
the back of firm U.S. stocks, pointing to a rise in Britain's
FTSE of 0.1 percent, an increase in Germany's DAX
of 0.4 percent and in France's CAC of 0.4
The dollar hovered near 3-1/2-month highs against a basket
of currencies, supported by the rise in U.S. long-term debt
yields to a four-year peak.
South Korea's KOSPI climbed 1.3 percent, with tech
shares buoyed by news of a record quarterly profit from Samsung
The region's other gainers included Japan's Nikkei, which
rose 0.5 percent and Thai and Malaysian stocks.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
slipped 0.15 percent, as weaker Chinese stocks
weighed on the market.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9
percent and the blue-chip CSI300 index dropped 1.4
percent as tech shares came under pressure following news that
U.S. prosecutors have been investigating if China's Huawei
violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.25 percent on
Wednesday, ending five consecutive sessions of losses, and the
S&P 500 gained 0.18 percent on optimism over a spate of
upbeat earnings that managed to offset jitters about rising U.S.
The rise in the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield to a four-year
peak above 3 percent had weighed on stocks amid concerns higher
costs to borrow could dampen corporate profits.
Nonetheless, the broader equity market reaction to the
latest jump in U.S. yields appeared to be more measured compared
to February, when a similar spike in rates sent stocks tumbling.
"The equity markets slid sharply in January and March in
response to the rise in Treasury yields. But the Federal Reserve
signalled in March that its rate hikes would be gradual," said
Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset
Management in Tokyo.
"Expectations towards U.S. rate hikes being gradual are
enabling equities to take the current yield rise in stride."
The 10-year yield rose to 3.035 percent on
Wednesday, its highest since January 2014. The yield has climbed
on expectations of a steady U.S. economic expansion,
accelerating inflation and concerns about increasing debt
supply. It last stood at 3.031 percent.
U.S. yields have dragged up their European counterparts,
with 10-year German bund reaching a six-week high of 0.655
percent and its British Gilt equivalent setting a
nine-week peak of 1.57 percent this week.
The rise in borrowing rates has also supported the dollar.
The dollar index of a basket of six major currencies was
steady in Asia at 91.157 and within reach of 91.261, its highest
since Jan 12 scaled on Wednesday.
The dollar has risen without pause through much of the past
week, in part helped by an easing of concerns over a U.S.-China
The euro fetched $1.2175 after sliding to a
1-1/2-month low of $1.2160.
The immediate focus for euro traders is the European Central
Bank monetary policy decision due at 1145 GMT. The ECB is widely
expected to keep policy unchanged but its comments will be
followed closely for any hints of when it might scale back its
massive monetary stimulus.
"We expect no changes to the ECB's setting of monetary
conditions or its guidance. Some people in the market will be
disappointed by that, but ECB President (Mario) Draghi has been
starkly clear about the Governing Council's position," wrote
Carl Weinberg, chief international economist at High Frequency
"Conditions prerequisite for a change in the central bank's
stance have not been met."
The dollar was little changed at 109.340 yen after
going as high as 109.490, its strongest since Feb. 8.
Crude oil prices were up amid the prospect of fresh
sanctions on Iran and concerns about output from Venezuela.
Brent crude added 0.7 percent to $74.50 a barrel and
U.S. crude futures were 0.55 percent higher at $68.42 a
Higher U.S. yields and a stronger dollar weighed on gold,
with spot prices slipping to a five-week low of $1,318.51 an
(Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Sam Holmes and Neil
First Published: 2018-04-26 02:24:26
Updated 2018-04-26 07:50:06
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