* Oil prices extend gains after biggest one-day surge since
* European stocks set to open flat to slightly higher
* NZD slumps after RBNZ holds rate steady, maintains neutral
* Asia ex-Japan, Nikkei both climb
* Sterling slightly higher ahead of BOE policy meeting
By Nichola Saminather
SINGAPORE, May 11 Asian stocks rose on Thursday,
getting a lift from a record high close on MSCI's global stocks
benchmark as strong gains in oil prices buoyed energy shares.
European stocks are headed for a less robust open, with
financial spreadbetter CMC Markets expecting Britain's FTSE 100
to open 0.1 percent lower, while France's CAC 40
and Germany's DAX are seen starting the day flat.
The New Zealand dollar plunged to its lowest level
since June 2016 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand surprised
markets by keeping a neutral bias at its policy review while
holding interest rates steady at a record low 1.75 percent.
The New Zealand dollar slumped 1.5 percent to
$0.6835, also its biggest one-day loss since June 2016.
Oil prices extended their 3 percent-plus overnight gains,
their biggest one-day jump since Dec. 1, following a steep drop
in U.S. inventories and support from Iraq and Algeria for an
extension to OPEC supply cuts.
U.S. crude rose 0.55 percent to $47.59 a barrel on
Thursday. Global benchmark Brent crude advanced 0.5
percent to $50.46.
"We saw the biggest draw in inventories for the year last
week with stockpiles down more than 5 million barrels. And it
looks like OPEC's production cut is finally biting," said Greg
McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
and Japan's Nikkei both rose 0.3 percent
Chinese shares slid 0.35 percent weighed down by
lingering concerns over lending curbs. Hong Kong's Hang Seng
climbed 0.25 percent.
South Korea's KOSPI added 0.9 percent. On Wednesday,
the index hit a third consecutive all-time intraday high before
ending below the previous close.
MSCI's global stock benchmark was steady,
after posting a record high closing price overnight, bolstered
by an almost 1 percent jump in energy shares.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq
closed about 0.1 percent higher, while the Dow Jones Industrial
Average ended the day almost 0.2 percent lower.
With volatility at the lowest level in more than a decade,
"global equities, led by the S&P 500 are moving higher, but at a
very subdued pace," Chris Weston, market strategist at IG in
Melbourne, wrote in a note.
Political tensions in the U.S. also capped Wall Street
gains, as the fallout from the sudden firing of FBI Director
James Comey on Tuesday sapped confidence in U.S. President
Donald Trump's ability to push through his economic agenda.
Democrats intensified accusations that Comey's removal was
intended to undermine the FBI probe into possible collusion
between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia to sway the
2016 election and demanded an independent investigation into the
alleged Russian meddling.
The dollar retained most of its overnight gains on rising
risk appetite and higher U.S. Treasury yields after a soft
10-year note auction.
The dollar was little changed at at 114.22 yen,
hovered near Wednesday's near-two-month intraday high after four
straight sessions of gains.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against
a basket of trade-weighted peers, was also steady at 99.686.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell back to 2.398 after
closing near the session high of 2.416 percent on Wednesday.
Sterling was fractionally lower at $1.2933, ahead
of a Bank of England policy meeting at 1100 GMT.
The central bank is expected to leave rates unchanged at a
record low 0.25 percent and seek more clarity before making the
first interest rate hike in nearly a decade, even though
inflation is above the central bank's 2 percent target.
The Canadian dollar weakened 0.6 percent, with the
U.S. dollar buying C$1.3736 after Moody's Investor Service
downgraded six Canadian banks, citing a more challenging
The euro was steady at $1.0867.
(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Additional reporting by
Henning Gloystein; Editing by Richard Pullin & Simon