GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks, dollar rise, China up as rate hike skipped

* Asian equity markets firmer, copper hits record high

* Economic data lifts hopes for U.S. growth outlook

* Relief in China markets at no interest rate hike

* Europe stock index futures rise

(Updates prices throughout)

SYDNEY, Dec 13 (BestGrowthStock) – Asian stocks chalked up modest
gains on Monday, buoyed by upbeat U.S. data, while Chinese
shares rose nearly 3 percent as investors reacted with relief
that Beijing’s policy moves to cool inflation did not include
an interest rate rise.

The benchmark U.S. Treasury yield hit a six-month high in
response to the best consumer sentiment read-out in six
months, helping shore up the dollar.

MSCI’s index for Asia Pacific stocks was last up 0.28
percent, while the index excluding Japan put
on 0.11 percent, having earlier approached one-week highs.

Financial bookmakers expected similar modest gains in
Europe, calling Britain’s FTSE 100 , Germany’s DAX
and France’s CAC-40 to rise 0.3-0.4 percent.
Eurostoxx 50 Futures (STXEc1: ) were up 0.4 percent.

Chinese leaders said on Sunday they would ratchet up
efforts to quell inflation in 2011 in response to data showing
the country’s rate of inflation soared past forecasts to a
28-month high of 5.1 percent in November.

Ahead of the data, the Chinese central bank raised the
minimum amount of money lenders must keep in reserve for a
third time in a month. Beijing, however, held back from
lifting interest rates, a relief for some but a move many
still expect will happen at some stage.

“I don’t see a high chance of an interest rate rise by the
end of this year now,” said Huaxi Securities analyst Cao
Xuefeng in Chengdu, adding this would probably help the
Chinese stocks regain ground in the short term.

Shanghai’s benchmark share index closed up 2.9
percent, its biggest one-day percentage gain in two months.

CONSUMER SENTIMENT

The dollar edged up 0.24 percent versus a basket of major
currencies . Against the yen, it rose to 84.16 ,
not far from a two-month high around 84.40 set recently.

The greenback was underpinned by gains in U.S. Treasury
yields, which saw the 10-year reach highs of 3.391
percent last seen in June.

Markets were heartened by U.S. data on Friday which showed
consumer sentiment was its best six months, and a 3.2 percent
increase in exports, figures that pointed to a firmer economic
recovery, though trading was subdued as year-end holidays
approached.

“On the whole, the market is winding down and people are
not inspired to put in large positions,” said Carey Wong, an
investment analyst at OCBC Investment Research.

So far this year, Asia Pacific stocks are
up around 10 percent, outperforming an 8 percent rise in
global equities .

Among the best performing assets are commodities.
Industrial metal copper , which hit a record high of
$9,129.50 a tonne on Monday, has gained 23 percent this year,
and U.S. crude oil (CLc1: ) at around $88 a barrel has risen 11
percent since the start of 2010.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index , Australia’s S&P 200
index and Japan’s Nikkei average were all up
between 0.2 and 0.6 percent.

In Australia, investors snapped up top bank shares,
relieved that reform measures to boost the banking sector,
unveiled on Sunday, were no harsher than feared.

National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank
posted gains of more than 1 percent. [ID:nL3E6ND00K]

(Additional reporting by Charmain Kok, Vikram S. Subhedar and
Farah Master; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks, dollar rise, China up as rate hike skipped