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Shares set for weekly gain as bonds stabilise
May 15, 2015 / 12:03 PM / 3 years ago

Shares set for weekly gain as bonds stabilise

* Yields ease back after roller-coaster unwinding

* Europe shares follow Asia, U.S. higher

* Credit Suisse says bonds entering bear market

* Euro set for fifth straight week of gains (Adds U.S. futures, updates prices)

By Lionel Laurent

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - Global shares were on track for a weekly rise on Friday, with Europe following Asia higher, as bond-market jitters eased after a roller-coaster unwinding of bets linked to the European Central Bank’s stimulus plan.

European bond yields were down across the board and top shares were in positive territory, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 equity index up 0.1 percent. Traders pointed to a calmer end to the week after the Ascension Day holiday on Thursday and recent jumps in German yields.

Athens was an exception. Top Greek stocks were down 1.8 percent as talks continued to secure aid from international creditors. Greece has now unblocked the sale of a 51 percent stake in Piraeus port and has invited China’s Cosco and two other shortlisted investors to submit binding bids.

The euro fell below $1.14 as the spike in yields stalled. The single currency was still on track for its fifth straight week of gains.

Some cautioned against reading too much into the relative market calm. Credit Suisse said bond yields would resume rising as economic data improved and expectations of higher inflation grew, pushing more investors out of the usual safe-haven assets.

“We believe that bonds are entering a multi-year bear market,” Credit Suisse strategists wrote in a note to clients. They said they had an “underweight” rating on high-yielding, bond-like equities.

The MSCI World equity index was up 0.1 percent, heading for a weekly gain of 0.5 percent and not far from last month’s record high.

The health of the U.S. economy and direction of its interest rates remained in focus, with more U.S. data due later in the session. U.S. equity futures, up 0.1 percent, pointed to a higher open.

The S&P 500 index closed at a record high on Thursday after economic data quashed bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates sooner rather than later.

Asian shares were generally higher. China stocks slumped, though, after the chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission said a recent move to speed up approvals for initial public offerings won’t have much effect on the market. Some interpreted that as a signal IPO activity would be stepped up.

Emerging market shares looked on track to snap their two-week losing streak on Friday, clocking up some modest gains. The Bank of Korea held interest rates steady at a record low for a second consecutive month on Friday.

In commodities, Brent crude oil held below $67 a barrel after reports that growing supply was boosting inventories. Copper and other industrial metals fell as investors concluded a recent rally had overshot supply-demand fundamentals. A firmer dollar also weighed on prices. (Additional reporting by Anirban Nag, John Geddie and Karin Strohecker; Editing by Larry King)

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