* MSCI Asia-Pacific index up 0.3 pct, Nikkei rises 1.5 pct
* Spreadbetters see European stocks markets opening higher
* Dollar/yen soars ahead of U.S. jobs report
* Crude bounces from multi-month lows but glut concerns
* Spot gold hits 5-week low on firmer dollar
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, March 10 Asian stocks edged up and the
dollar rose to seven-week highs versus the yen on Friday, ahead
of the closely-watched U.S. non-farm payrolls report due later
in the day.
Spreadbetters expected the firmer tone in equities to carry
over into Europe, forecasting a higher open for Britain's FTSE
, Germany's DAX and France's CAC.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
added 0.3 percent, taking cues from a modest
bounce in Wall Street overnight.
Japan's Nikkei climbed 1.5 percent on the back of a
Shares in South Korea rose 0.3 percent and the won
firmed slightly after the country's Constitutional Court
upheld parliament's impeachment of President Park Geun-hye over
a graft scandal involving big business.
"Today's ruling will help remove market uncertainty. Should
the liberal party, which emphasises reform of conglomerates,
take power, this will put pressure on heavyweight shares like
Samsung Electronics," said Park Jung-Hoon, fund manager at HDC
Asset Management in Seoul.
In currencies, the euro enjoyed a lift after European
Central Bank head Mario Draghi's suggestion on Thursday it was
less necessary to prop up the market through ultra-loose
German, British and Italian bond yields extended their rise
in Asia as the region's investors reacted to Draghi's comments,
The German 10-year bund yield rose to its
highest level since early February.
"The ECB in a sense is saying it is not going to do more
QEs. And markets now think the ECB is not just tapering but
raising rates quite early, pricing in 70-80 percent chance of a
rate hike of 10 basis points in the second quarter of next
year," said Hideki Kishida, senior strategist at Nomura
The euro extended its overnight gains and was last up 0.2
percent at $1.0599.
The dollar fared better against the Japanese yen, rising to
115.435, its highest since Jan. 19, as benchmark U.S.
Treasury yields rose to three-month highs on
expectations that Friday's nonfarm payrolls report could seal
expectations for the Fed to hike rates next week.
Cementing views of tighter U.S. policy was also a report on
Thursday that showed the number of Americans applying for
unemployment benefits rose to 243,000 last week, rebounding from
a near 44-year low, but continuing to point to a tightening
The dollar index against a basket of major currencies was up
0.1 percent at 101.900.
Wall Street was marginally higher the day before, underpinned
by speculation the widely-anticipated labour market report on
Friday would show U.S. payrolls growth in February was far more
than economist forecast.
The employment figures are drawing particular interest as
chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates several
times this year could improve if the data underlines U.S.
"A robust report could give rise to speculation that the Fed
could hike rates not just three but even four times this year,
in turn pushing up the dollar and U.S. yields," said Shuji
Shirota, head of macro-economics strategy group at HSBC in
"Higher yields could be positive for broader equities, which
have drawn support from reflation trades. But some in the market
may focus on the potentially negative impact higher yields have
on equities, so it is hard to predict the effect of the jobs
Also of concern to broader risk asset markets was crude oil,
where prices fell to more than three-month lows overnight as
record U.S. crude inventories fed doubts about the effectiveness
of OPEC's recent deal to curb a global glut.
With global energy stocks under pressure, MSCI's 46-country
All World index declined for a sixth consecutive
day on Thursday, after setting an all-time high just over a week
U.S. crude rose 0.7 percent to $49.66 a barrel after
sliding to $48.59 overnight, the lowest since the end of
November. Brent was up 0.7 percent at $52.54 a barrel,
although it was still headed for a weekly loss of nearly 6
The firmer greenback and the prospect of higher U.S. rates
pressured both precious and industrial metals.
Spot gold went as low as $1,196.34 an ounce, its
weakest since Jan. 31.
Three-month copper on the London Metals Exchange was
at $5,719 a tonne after slipping to a two-month trough of $5,652
the previous day.
(Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo; Editing by