* Big U.S. hi-tech shares all hitting record high
* North Korea concerns ease a tad after Trump comments
* China, U.S. factory readings show slower but still solid
* U.S. 30-yr yield above 3 pct after Mnuchin's bond remarks
* European shares seen rising 0.2-0.3 pct
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO, May 2 Asian shares rose to near two-year
highs on Tuesday as growing optimism over tech industry earnings
and easing concerns over North Korea offset softer-than-expected
factory readings in China and the United States.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
gained 0.5 percent to its highest level since
June 2015, as many of the region's markets reopened after a long
holiday weekend. Japan's Nikkei rose 0.7 percent.
European shares are seen rising after a market holiday on
Monday, with spread-betters expecting Britain's FTSE to
rise 0.3 percent and Germany's DAX 0.2 percent.
On Wall Street on Monday, the S&P 500 gained 0.17
percent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.73 percent to a
record closing high, although the Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 0.13 percent.
Notably, the world's five largest companies by market
capitalisation -- Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft
, Amazon and Facebook -- all hit
intraday or closing highs.
"For those large shares to rally to record highs at the same
time, you really need a big amount of money flowing in. It is
fair to assume the money that was once staying in the bond
markets is now going to hi-tech shares on back of their strong
earnings," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at
Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
The gains in hi-tech shares accelerated after strong
earnings from Google, Amazon and Microsoft last week. Apple is
due to report its results on Tuesday and Facebook on Wednesday.
In Asia, Samsung Electronics gained as much as
2.0 percent at one point, helping to lift Kospi index
0.7 percent to within reach of its all-time high marked in 2011.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) hit a
record high, rising as much as 2.3 percent.
"The memory and the DRAM sector has seen huge consolidation
globally. What that has meant is stronger pricing power," said
Andrew Gillan, head of Asia ex-Japan equities at Henderson
"Earnings have been much stronger than expected in the
In Hong Kong, Tencent gained 1.3 percent at most,
hitting record highs.
Strong demand for various products related to the so-called
Internet of Things (IoT), in which regular products are
connected to networks, are supporting hi-tech demand, said
Yukino Yamada, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Worries about tensions over the Korean peninsula also eased
slightly after U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday opened the
door to meeting North Korea's Kim Jong Un, saying he would be
honoured to meet the young leader under the right circumstances.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a barometer of expected
near-term stock market volatility, closed at its lowest level
since Feb 2007, suggesting investors' fears were easing.
In the foreign exchange market, diminishing risk aversion is
helping the dollar to gain a foothold at one-month high of 112
The euro was little moved at $1.0911, stuck in a
well-worn range ahead of the second round of the French
presidential election on Sunday.
The Australian dollar rose 0.2 percent to $0.7537,
as Australia's central bank held rates steady for a ninth
straight month in a widely expected decision.
The currency showed limited reaction to a private sector
survey that showed growth in Chinese factory activity slowed to
its weakest pace in seven months.
The factory survey echoed findings from China's official
readings at the weekend which also showed the pace of growth was
easing, but still solid. Most analysts attributed the softening
to weaker prices for raw materials such as iron ore.
U.S. economic data announced on Monday also fell short of
expectations. U.S. factory activity slowed in April, with ISM
manufacturing activity index falling to 54.8 from 57.2 in March,
an unexpectedly large retreat.
"Given that reading for March was really strong, you can say
that it has become 'strong' from 'super-strong'," said
Mitsubishi UFJ's Fujito.
U.S. consumer spending was unchanged in March and a key
inflation measure recorded its first monthly drop since 2001.
Still economists expect the Federal Reserve to raise
interest rates in June as the labour market seems to be
Money market futures are pricing in about 70 percent chance
in June. Virtually no one expects a rate hike in its upcoming
meeting on May 2-3.
In the U.S. bond market, the 30-year U.S. Treasuries yield
rose above 3 percent for the first time since April
10 after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the
government is looking into the issuance of ultra long-term
bonds, or those with maturities beyond 30 years.
Fear of more issues in those maturities lifted the yield
spread between 10- and 30-year bonds to 0.69 percentage point,
its highest since early December.
The 10-year yield stood at 2.327 percent, below
a two-week high of 2.350 percent set on April 26.
Oil prices were under pressure as rising crude output on
Libya and the United States outweighed OPEC-led production cuts
aimed at clearing a supply glut.
Brent futures stood at $51.38 per barrel, down 14
cent, or 0.3 percent.
(Additional reporting by Nichola Saminather in Singapore;
Editing by Kim Coghill and Sam Holmes)