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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks advance, dollar struggles ahead of U.S. jobs data
September 1, 2017 / 11:19 AM / 18 days ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks advance, dollar struggles ahead of U.S. jobs data

* European stocks up after PMI data, following Asia, U.S. MSCI

* Upbeat manufacturing activity data lifts China shares

* U.S. jobs data awaited for clues on Fed’s rate hike stance

* Crude oil dips after rally, hurricane turmoil lingers

* Precious metals hold gains after another strong week

By Marc Jones

LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Gains for Europe and Asia pushed world shares back towards record highs on Friday, while the dollar lost traction ahead of U.S. payrolls data.

Euro zone stocks had been at risk of their second red week in a row but a 0.5 percent rise looked to have dug them out of trouble, following gains in Asia overnight and as futures pointed to a sixth day of rises for Wall Street later.

Near 6 percent jumps in French media firm Vivendi and Swedish car and truck maker Volvo lifted spirits, as did a rise in euro zone manufacturing data that showed the fastest rise in export orders since February 2011.

On-form mining companies remained hot as copper, and iron ore headed for their eighth straight week of gains.

There was also some relief that the euro’s rapid increase seemed to have paused for now and that this year’s 13 percent rise versus the dollar and 5 percent on a trade-weighted basis does not appear to have hurt firms just yet.

The latest euro zone factory PMI figures showed strong traction across all major economies and at 57.4 matched June’s strongest reading since April 2011.

Britain’s factory activity grew a lot more strongly than expected too, suggesting that for all the worries about its ability to strike a beneficial Brexit deal, the economy might be shrugging off its slow first half to the year.

“The euro zone’s impressive manufacturing upturn regained momentum in August, with a summer surge in factory activity suggesting rising goods production will support another strong GDP reading in the third quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at the data’s compiler IHS Markit.

The data and comments from Austria’s ECB member Ewald Nowotny that the central bank would discuss “carefully” scaling back its 2.3 trillion euro stimulus programme lifted the euro back above $1.19.

Nevertheless it struggled to make much headway and despite having also topped $1.20 this week for the first time since the start of 2015, it was set to end it down.

Regarding the common currency’s 13 percent rise against the dollar this year, Nowotny said: “I would not over-interpret or dramatise this development”.

It left attention firmly on upcoming U.S. nonfarm payrolls data due at 1230 GMT.

Economists polled by Reuters expect an increase of 180,000 jobs in August after a 209,000 surge in July. They also forecast average hourly earnings will have gained 0.2 percent after rising 0.3 percent in July.

“The wages component of the jobs report will be key,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

“If earnings are to have picked up along with employment, we will see a straightforward reaction with U.S. stocks and yields rising and the dollar being bought.”

DOLLAR DOLDRUMS

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was steady at 92.716. Although on an individual basis the greenback was up against the yen, the index was poised to end the week down 0.1 percent, having also hit a 2-1/2-year low.

On Thursday, U.S. consumer spending data for July rose slightly less than expected and annual inflation advanced at its slowest pace in more than 1-1/2 years, diminishing expectations of a U.S. interest rate increase in December.

That also fed into bond markets. Yields on U.S. Treasuries, which move in the opposite direction to price, were down for a fourth week in five and German yields were down for a second straight week, having just seen their biggest monthly drop since February.

Global bonds attracted bumper inflows of $8.1 billion, Bank of America Merrill Lynch data showed on Friday.

KOREA PATH

Emerging market stocks were still on the march after their eighth month of gains as China’s yuan hit a 14-month high and metals markets continued to rally.

Kenya’s bonds and shilling fell and the country’s stock market was forced to halt trading however, after the country’s Supreme Court unexpectedly declared President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent election win invalid due to irregularities and ordered a new vote within 60 days.

In the red-hot metal sector, industrial bellwether copper was up 0.4 percent at $6,818 a tonne. The LME contract price touched a peak of $6,872 on Thursday, the highest since September 2014.

Gold was near a 9-1/2-month high, supported as the dollar steadied and by lingering concerns over tensions in the Korean peninsula.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Friday that the standoff between North Korea and the United States was on the verge of large-scale conflict and that it was a mistake to try to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear missile programme.

“It is essential to resolve the region’s problems through direct dialogue involving all sides without advancing any preconditions (for such talks),” Putin wrote on the Kremlin’s website ahead of a trip to China next week.

Oil futures fell, partly reversing sharp gains from the previous session, amid turmoil in the oil industry with nearly a quarter of U.S. refining offline.

Hurricane Harvey, which brought record flooding to Texas, has shut at least 4.4 million barrels per day of refining capacity, according to company reports and Reuters estimates.

“It looks like everyone thinks that the hurricane will affect refining more than production,” said Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp.

“Production will come back faster than refining so it is just going to exacerbate the situation where there’s too much oil.”

U.S. crude was down 1 percent at $46.76 per barrel. The futures had surged 2.8 percent on Thursday following a steep drop the previous day, during a week in which the hurricane roiled the oil market.

Brent crude shed 1 percent too, to $52.35 a barrel.

Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by Alison Williams

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