By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO (Reuters) - Encouraging China factory data and another closing record on Wall Street lifted Asian equities and commodities on Monday, while the euro held recent gains against the dollar but remained on shaky ground ahead of a closely watched European Central Bank meeting.
The upward momentum was seen spilling over into European equities, with financial spreadbetters forecasting Britain's FTSE to open up as much 0.32 percent, Germany's DAX 0.26 percent higher and France's CAC to open flat.
Tokyo's Nikkei led by way, rising 2.1 percent, while Australian shares added 0.3 percent.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed. Greater China markets were closed on Monday for a holiday.
"Risk appetite has risen mainly on bright economic data from China, but the direction for the month will likely depend on other economic data like U.S. jobs figures this week," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.
China's factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in five months in May due to rising new orders, official data showed on Sunday, reinforcing views that the world's second-largest economy is regaining momentum. [ID:nL3N0OI055]
After weeks of speculation the ECB is expected to deliver economic stimulus on Thursday via monetary easing. The euro fell to a 3-1/2 month low last week ahead of the expected move, although risk assets like equities should get a boost.
The euro traded little changed at $1.3629 after bouncing back late last week from $1.3587, its lowest since Feb. 13.
The dollar edged up 0.2 percent to 102.03 yen after rebounding against the Japanese currency Friday thanks in part to slightly higher U.S. Treasury yields.
On Friday, the Dow and S&P 500 rode the momentum of the recent risk asset rally to set record closing highs. [.N]
However, Wall Street gains were modest in the wake of a mixed bag of U.S. data and investors will be looking to Friday's non-farm payrolls for confirmation that recovery for the world's largest economy is on track.
The U.S. job data's impact on the Treasury market will also be eyed following a debt market rally in May that took benchmark yields to 11-month lows and pressured the dollar. [ID:nL1N0OG1NS]
OIL, COPPER UP
The good China PMI reading also lifted oil and base metals by improving demand prospects for the world's second biggest economy.
Brent crude gained 40 cents to $109.81 a barrel. [O/R]
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange climbed 0.6 percent to $6,888 a tonne. The metal gained 3.1 percent in May, its biggest monthly advance since December. [MET/L]
"It's certainly a good sign to see the PMI starting to pick up, which suggests that the Chinese fine-tuning of policies is starting to gain a bit of traction which is a positive for industrial commodities," said analyst James Glenn of National Australia bank.
"But we probably can't get too carried away just yet – we need to keep an eye on some of the other indicators. The HSBC (PMI) has improved but it's still a bit soft. You'd probably want to see a bit more of a broad-based improvement in those sorts of indicators."
Safe-haven gold slid for a fifth straight session as investor sentiment was hurt by stronger global equities and weak physical demand in Asia. Spot gold was at $1,245.10 an ounce, not far from the four-month low of $1,241.99 hit on Friday. [GOL/]
- Markets & Exchanges