Asia up on Wall Street's lead, Aussie jumps as RBA stands pat

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks rose on Tuesday, following a positive lead from Wall Street, while the dollar held onto its gains after rebounding against the euro and yen on higher U.S. Treasury yields.

Spreadbetters saw the upward momentum for equities continuing into Europe, forecasting a higher open for Britain’s FTSE <.FTSE>, Germany’s DAX <.GDAXI> and France’s CAC <.FCHI>.

The Australian dollar jumped after the Reserve Bank of Australia surprised some by standing pat on monetary policy, leaving the cash rate at a record low 2.25 percent. [nRBA]

But given the risks facing the Australian economy like sliding prices of iron ore, the country’s biggest export, the central bank did leave the door open for future action, saying further easing might be appropriate.

“We have a cut for May. The key development is that weaker commodity prices, lower terms of trade, and a somewhat sticky currency will push them over the line in May,” said Su-Lin Ong, senior economist at RBC Capital Markets.

The Aussie was up 1.3 percent at $ 0.7686 , pulling away from the six-year low of $ 0.7534 plumbed last week. Australian shares rose more than 1 percent earlier on easing hopes but were last up 0.4 percent.

Elsewhere in the region, shares in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand gained. Chinese stocks hit a new seven-year high ahead of the quarterly earnings season. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> gained 0.3 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei <.N225> climbed 1.2 percent as the market had an opportunity to gauge how U.S. equities responded to Friday’s much weaker-than-expected non-farm payrolls.

“How the U.S. market would react to the weak jobs data was of concern to investors,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

“The market is relieved on views that the Fed will not likely raise interest rates while the economy is seen still fragile.”

Wall Street shares rose overnight as the disappointing jobs data fed expectations that the Federal Reserve could wait longer before raising interest rates. The U.S. stock market was closed on Friday, when the closely-followed data was released.

In currencies, the euro inched up 0.1 percent to $ 1.0936 , after climbing down from an overnight high of $ 1.1036. The dollar was steady at 119.60 yen after bouncing from a low of 118.80 on Monday.

A spike in U.S. Treasury yields buoyed the dollar. The 10-year yield jumped overnight from two-month lows and was back at a level prior to the weak non-farm data release. The benchmark note last yielded around 1.90 percent .

“It is important to look at the unemployment rate, which remained unchanged and earnings, which increased last month. The moves in the financial markets tell us that equity, bond and FX traders share our view and we expect the dollar to avoid further losses this week,” Kathy Lien, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, said in a note.

In commodities, crude oil dipped, giving back some of the large gains made overnight when the market reassessed how quickly Iran might increase exports after a preliminary nuclear deal. Goldman Sachs said prices needed to remain low for months to achieve a slowdown in U.S. output growth.[O/R]

U.S. crude was down 0.8 percent at $ 51.70 a barrel after rallying 6 percent on Monday. Brent shed 0.6 percent to $ 57.48 a barrel following its 5.7 percent jump.

Gold retreated from a seven-week top as the dollar rebounded. Spot gold was flat at $ 1,213.80 an ounce after hitting the seven-week peak of $ 1,1224.10 on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Ayai Tomisawa in Tokyo and Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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