GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks up, dollar firms ahead of U.S. jobs data

* Risk-on trend continues, traders eye non-farm payrolls

* Dollar firms vs major currencies, Treasuries slip

* Strong payrolls could be ‘double-edged sword’

* Bunds weaken; Portugal edges towards bailout

By Simon Jessop

LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) – World stocks rose and the dollar
strengthened on the opening day of the second quarter, ahead of
U.S. jobs data expected to show that a recovery in the world’s
largest economy remains firmly on track.

Concerns over euro zone debt, Japan’s nuclear crisis and
conflicts in the Middle East could all nix the rally, however,
while a bullish jobs reading may stoke inflation fears and
embolden central bank hawks looking to raise interest rates more
quickly.

U.S. stock futures point to a higher open on Wall Street,
with the Dow Jones industrial average (DJc1: Quote, Profile, Research), Standard & Poor’s
500 (SPc1: Quote, Profile, Research) and Nasdaq composite (NDc1: Quote, Profile, Research) seen up 0.2 percent to
0.4 percent.

On the flip-side, U.S. Treasuries slipped ahead of the jobs
data as investors looked to take on more risk [ID:nLDE7300UK]
and became more wary of tighter monetary policy from the Federal
Reserve.

In Europe, equities (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) had eaked out a small gain in
the previous quarter and set about extending that run in early
Friday trade. By 1025 GMT, the index was up 0.6 percent, just
off its intraday high.

Traders said all eyes were on the release of U.S. non-farm
payrolls data at 1230 GMT, which is expected to show 190,000
people were hired in March, fuelling optimism about the
sustainability of growth in the world’s largest economy.

A positive reading “is set to boost risk appetite as the
global recovery begins to gather momentum, said Jonathan
Sudaria, night dealer at Capital Spreads, although it could be a
“double-edged sword”, added Jean-Yves Dumont, head of asset
allocation strategy and funds at Dexia Asset Management.

“Stronger-than-expected data will embolden the Fed’s hawks,”
Dumont warned, after a senior U.S. Federal Reserve official
suggested, in a Wall Street Journal report, the Fed could raise
interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point by the
end of the year. [ID:nN31167243]

Among the top movers were Irish banking shares, a day after
Dublin released details of stress tests showing its banks needed
an extra 24 billion euros, in line with expectations but pushing
the total bailout cost to $100 billion. [ID:nLDE72T20R]

That news had caused a late sell-off in European stocks on
Thursday, although buyers piled back in on Friday, and by 1025
GMT, the STOXX Europe 600 Banks (.SX7P: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 0.9 percent.

The MSCI world equity index (.MIWD00000PUS: Quote, Profile, Research) and the Thomson
Reuters global stock index (.TRXFLDGLPU: Quote, Profile, Research) were also higher, up
around 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent, but neither could eclipse
emerging stocks (.MSCIEF: Quote, Profile, Research) as the standout gainer.

The index rose 0.7 percent in early trade to a
near-three-year high, fuelled by robust manufacturing numbers
from India and China and fund flows back into emerging market
equities. [ID:nLDE7300OA] [ID:nL3E7F104Q]

Chinese factory data proved particularly supportive as it
showed production rose while cost inflation slowed, easing
concerns over further monetary tightening by Beijing.

Building on these later in the session will be the latest
U.S. ISM numbers, due out at 1400 GMT, which, while expected to
weaken slightly to 61 from 61.4, would still remain strong,
adding weight to the recovery theme.
The Nikkei (.N225: Quote, Profile, Research) proved the major loser in overnight Asian
trade, closing down 0.5 percent after hitting technical
resistance and on concerns about corporate profits in the wake
of its recent natural disasters. [ID:nL3E7F10YN]

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Insider TV-Chart view: http://link.reuters.com/suv68r Reuters polls on world stock markets: [ID:nLDE72K1HU] World growth, inflation: http://r.reuters.com/bex68r Euro zone PMI, earnings momentum:http://r.reuters.com/qew68r European sovereign debt crisis: http://r.reuters.com/hyb65p Japan disaster in figures: http://r.reuters.com/ser58r ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

BUNDS FALTER, PORTUGAL FRAGILE

The pre-jobs report, risk-on mode was also evident in the
currency markets as the yen fell to a 10-month low against the
euro and slid beneath a key technical level against the dollar,
which could be set for further gains.

“A strong non-farm payrolls number would be reflected in the
dollar/yen and it could rise to 84.50 in the short term,” said
Simon Derrick, head of currency research, at Bank of New York
Mellon. “We expect to see prolonged yen weakness due to loose
monetary and fiscal policy in Japan.”

The dollar was up 0.6 percent to 83.65 yen (JPY=: Quote, Profile, Research) at 1028
GMT, after earlier hitting a six-week high of 83.748 yen on
trading platform EBS and rising above its 200-day moving average
against the yen.

The dollar also firmed 0.4 percent against a basket of major
currencies (.DXY: Quote, Profile, Research) and strengthened against the euro (EUR=: Quote, Profile, Research) to
$1.4149.

Among commodities, Brent crude futures (LCOc1: Quote, Profile, Research) hit a
four-week high near $118 a barrel on prospects for increased
demand from the United States, the world’s biggest importer,
before scaling back to trade flat around $117. [ID:nL3E7F113U]

Portuguese government bonds were hit again on Friday, a day
after yields tested fresh record highs, with a successful,
extraordinary debt auction to friendly buyers failing to win
over the broader market. [ID:nLDE7300SC]

The Portuguese/German 10-year government bond yield spread
(PT10YT=TWEB: Quote, Profile, Research)(DE10YT=TWEB: Quote, Profile, Research) was steady on the day, but outright
yields were slightly higher, with five-year yields (PT5YT=TWEB: Quote, Profile, Research)
up 13 basis points at 9.78 percent.

The peripheral euro zone nation — seen next in line by the
markets for an international bailout — missed its 2010 budget
deficit target in the previous session, prompting a widening in
its spread to benchmark bunds. [ID:nLDE72U17E]

Elsewhere, Irish bonds were steady after the bank
stress-test results, while bund futures (FGBLc1: Quote, Profile, Research) were down 24
ticks, continuing a broad downtrend since the start of the year,
as traders position themselves for a European Central Bank
interest rate rise next week. [ID:nLDE73005Y]

(Additional reporting by Anirban Nag in London and Blaise
Robinson in Paris; Editing by Toby Chopra)

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks up, dollar firms ahead of U.S. jobs data