* Earnings optimism lifts European, Asian shares
* Wall Street seen opening lower after Nasdaq's record high
* Dollar up as yields rise after Mnuchin ultra-long bonds
* Fed begins two-day monetary policy meeting
* Earnings, dollar keep push gold to three-week low
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Nigel Stephenson
LONDON, May 2 Forecast-beating company earnings
and signs of underlying economic strength pushed European shares
higher on Tuesday while tech stocks lifted Asian stocks to
two-year highs as investors shrugged off sub-par Chinese factory
Investors were looking ahead to earnings from Apple
, whose shares - along with those of other major tech
companies - hit record highs on Monday. However, index futures
pointed to a modestly lower start for Wall Street
Strong earnings have helped push shares higher across the
globe this year. First-quarter profits at S&P 500 companies are
expected to have risen 13.6 percent, the strongest rise since
2011, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Their European
counterparts are seen up 13.9 percent.
Wall Street's "fear gauge" of implied equity market
volatility held close to Monday's close at its lowest since
before the global financial crisis.
The dollar hit a six-week high against the safe-haven
Japanese yen on some signs of easing tensions over North Korea
and as U.S. bond yields rose after U.S. Treasury Secretary
Steven Mnuchin said the government was looking into issuing
ultra-long debt of maturities in excess of 30 years.
Greek government bond yields hit 2 1/2-year lows after
Greece and its lenders reached a long-awaited deal on reforms
required to release further bailout funds.
The pan-European STOXX 600 share index, which had
its best week since December last week, gained 0.4 percent. The
banking sub-index was up 0.5 percent, showing no
reaction to comments from U.S. President Donald Trump, who told
Bloomberg Television he was actively considering breaking up big
BP shares rose 1.7 percent after the oil major's
first-quarter profit tripled.
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 also reopened after a
long holiday weekend. Japan's Nikkei rose 0.7 percent
after some robust earnings.
"Higher corporate earnings and tax reform seem to be more
important to the market than any off-the-cuff remark from Trump.
That means people are not buying protection in the options
market to protect themselves from a drop in the market," said
Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital.
The VIX volatility index last stood at 10.23 percent,
having hit its lowest since February 2007 on Monday, at 9.9
Strong earnings have outweighed concern over patches of weak
economic data. An official survey on Tuesday showed Chinese
factory activity growth slowed more than expected in April.
Euro zone factory activity hit a six-year high in April
, according to IHS Markit data. The euro
traded 0.1 percent stronger at $1.0912.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of major currencies, held steady. The dollar
was up 0.3 percent at 122.12 yen, having earlier hit a
six-week high of 112.25 yen.
U.S. 30-year Treasury yield were 0.3 basis
points higher at 3.01 percent, just below Monday's three-week
high, after Mnuchin told Bloomberg issuing ultra-long bonds "can
absolutely make sense".
"Mnuchin's comments have at least stabilised the long end of
the curve," said Lee Hardman, a currency economist with Japan's
MUFG. "But the dollar is still on the defensive in the near
term. The data from the U.S. has been coming in on the
disappointing side and the Fed is likely to acknowledge that at
this week's meeting."
The Fed begins a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday.
The yen, often sought in tense times, hit a five-month high
in mid-April as concerns grew about a possible conflict over
North Korea. Tension eased somewhat after Trump said on Monday
he would be honoured to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in
the right circumstances.
The yield on 10-year Greek government bonds
fell 36 basis points to 6.12 percent, its lowest since October
2014, after the deal with its lenders, which followed half a
year of talks.
Oil prices rose as expectations that OPEC and other
producers will extend output curbs outweighed rising production
in Libya and elsewhere. Brent crude last traded 48 cents
higher at $52 a barrel.
Gold hovered near a three-week low as stocks and the dollar
rose. Gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,254 an ounce.
Digital currency bitcoin hit a record high of $1,481 on the
Bitstamp exchange .
For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock
markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets
(Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo, Jamie
McGeever, Patrick Graham, Helen Reid and Abhinav Ramnarayan in
London; Editing by Larry King)