Asia stocks mostly higher before global data test
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian share markets edged cautiously higher on Monday while the dollar stayed under pressure ahead of packed week of economic data that will test investor hopes for a pick-up in the global economy.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent. It gained 0.9 percent last week to be within a whisker of multi-month highs, aided by the prospect that interest rates in the major economies will remain near zero for many months to come.
Most markets across the region were up modestly with Seoul adding 0.7 percent and Shanghai 0.6 percent. Japan's Nikkei recovered from an early stumble to end 0.4 percent higher.
Spread betters in Europe also predicted opening gains of between 0.1 and 0.3 percent for the FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40. The S&P 500 EMini contract was a whisker firmer.
French bank BNP Paribas will be in focus after sources said the U.S. Justice Department is expected to announce on Monday a settlement involving a record fine of nearly $9 billion over alleged U.S. sanctions violations.
Bulls are hoping to see evidence of an economic rebound in the United States in this week's busy calendar of data that includes the June payrolls report on Thursday, a day early due to the July 4 holiday.
Economists polled by Reuters expect jobs to rise 213,000 in June for the fifth straight month of gains above 200,000, a run unmatched since the Sept 1999-Jan 2000 period.
The U.S. earnings season also starts in the next couple of weeks, which will provide evidence on how the economy and profits are faring. Continued...