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GLOBAL MARKETS-European shares hit 5-1/2 yr high, dollar gains

Source: Reuters - Tue, 21 Jan 2014 09:09 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* European shares at 5-1/2 year high, tracking Asia

* Chinese money market rates ease on c.bank injection

* Dollar rallies on speculation of further tapering

* Turkish lira edges off record low pre-rate decision

By Carolyn Cohn

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - European shares hit fresh 5-1/2 year highs on Tuesday, tracking Asian shares higher as Chinese money rates eased, while the dollar got a boost from a report the Federal Reserve would again trim its bond buying next week.

Chinese shares rebounded from six-month lows and money market rates fell after the central bank dumped more than 255 billion yuan ($42 billion) into the financial system, easing concerns another credit crunch was underway less than a month after a late December squeeze.

Investors will also be watching liquidity operations by the European Central Bank later on Tuesday to see if it acts to correct a recent sharp rise in money rates, a tightening of conditions that could retard the region's recovery.

The key ZEW indicator of German investor sentiment for January will be released at 1000 GMT.

European shares hit 5-1/2 year highs, though world stocks were steady.

One big loser among European blue-chips was Alstom , down 12 percent after the power and transport engineering firm lowered its annual profit and cash flow targets.

U.S. stock futures were pointing higher, with the S&P 500 up 0.27 percent and the Dow up 0.5 percent.

The dollar bounced to 104.68 yen and the euro edged down to $1.3532, not far from Monday's two-month trough of $1.3508, after the Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. Federal Reserve is on track to trim its bond-buying programme for the second time in six weeks, paring back by $10 billion to $65 billion a month.

A lacklustre U.S. jobs report had not diminished the central bank's confidence in the economy, wrote Fed watcher Jon Hilsenrath. Investors suspect he has an inside line to policy makers and put a lot of weight on his opinion.

It was enough to nudge 10-year U.S. Treasury yields up 3 basis points to 2.85 percent, following the U.S. market holiday on Monday. German government bond futures fell 11 ticks.

The yen was also under pressure as Japan's central bank began a two-day policy meeting at which it is expected to keep its massive quantitative easing programme unchanged.

"We do share the view that monetary policy in the U.S. will be less accommodative and that is helping the dollar against the yen," said Manuel Oliveri, FX strategist at Credit Agricole.

"On the yen side, there is some positioning that the Bank of Japan may sound more dovish at the end of its policy meeting this week."

Attention will also be on Turkey's central bank as a crumbling currency piles pressure on for a hike in interest rates at its policy meeting on Tuesday.

The lira recovered slightly after hitting a string of recent record lows as a government corruption scandal undermined investor confidence.

In commodity markets, gold steadied at $1,249.89 an ounce, after hitting its highest level since mid-December at $1,259.85 on Monday.

Brent futures rose 60 cents to $106.95 a barrel as immediate supply worries from prolonged outages in South Sudan and Libya offset the impact of a deal aimed at ending a decade-long dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.

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