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Australia: Stocks rise with Japan futures as yen extends losses


[WELLINGTON] Australian stocks and Japanese equity-index futures tracked a rebound in US shares, while the yen and New Zealand dollar extended losses against the greenback. US oil traded near US$50 a barrel.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.3 per cent by 10.26am in Sydney, rallying from a one-month low. Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures were bid up 0.4 per cent in the Osaka pre-market, with the yen near its weakest level this year. The kiwi lost at least 0.2 per cent with Australia's dollar, while the euro lingered near its lowest level since 2003 after the region's central bank kicked off its bond-buying program.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures dropped 0.1 per cent after a 0.4 per cent rebound in the gauge. Crude in New York traded at US$49.97 a barrel.

China reports on consumer and producer prices Tuesday, the first in a slew of data this week that will give investors more clues as to how the slowdown in the world's second-largest economy is panning out. Asian stocks sank to a three-week low Monday after US jobs data spurred traders to bring forward bets on higher interest rates. European shares fell, even as the ECB started quantitative easing, as euro-area officials said Greece's debt proposals fell short of earlier commitments.

"Traders are taking a fresh look at equities in light of Friday's payroll data," Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut, said by phone. "The onset of Fed tightening indicates very strongly the economy is doing better, which is great for earnings. QE this morning starting in Europe seems to be having a positive effect for now."

The S&P 500 slid 1.6 per cent last week, the most since January, as data showed the US jobless rate reached the central bank's range for what it considers full employment. The odds of a rate increase by September jumped to 59 per cent from 49 per cent Thursday, futures showed. Federal Reserve policy makers next meet on March 17-18.

Emerging-market stocks dropped on Monday, with an MSCI Inc. gauge of developing-nation equities retreating 1.2 per cent in a seventh day of declines, its longest slump since December.


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