Asian shares underpinned by China trade, falling yen

Sun Dec 8, 2013 5:38pm EST
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By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian markets were poised to move higher on Monday, energized by a potent cocktail of upbeat Chinese trade data, a weaker yen and a firm finish on Wall Street.

Both the dollar and the euro extended their gains on the yen, with the single currency hitting a five-year high in what should be a boost to Japanese exports, profits and stocks.

Nikkei futures were up 1.8 percent, pointing to a strong start for the index .N225.

While Friday's solid U.S. jobs report may have brought forward the day when the Federal Reserve starts tapering its asset buying, the figures also suggested the economy was recovering well enough to withstand the move.

A total of 203,000 jobs were added in November, while the unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point to a five-year low of 7 percent. <TOP/CEN>

"Markets are trading like they were well positioned for strong data, and would actually be relieved if the Fed tapers in December and so removes the tapering timing uncertainty," said Alan Ruskin, global head of FX strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York.

"That equities are this strong is a clear signal to the Fed that tapering will not do too much damage to risk appetite."

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI ended Friday with gains of 1.26 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX put on 1.12 percent.   Continued...

A woman walks past a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo September 2, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai