GLOBAL MARKETS-US stocks rise on earnings hope; oil slips

* Wall Street opens higher on earnings optimism

* Rate expectations send Bund yield above 3.5 percent

* Yen comes off recent lows after latest aftershock
(Adds details, updates prices, changes byline, dateline,
previous LONDON)

By Wanfeng Zhou

NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks edged higher on
Monday on hopes for a strong corporate earnings season, while
crude oil prices retreated on prospects of a Libyan peace
agreement.

Aluminum maker Alcoa (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) will mark the unofficial start
of the quarterly earnings season when it reports its earnings
after the market’s close on Monday. Optimism about earnings
helped offset concerns about Japan, which suffered another
strong aftershock and expanded the evacuation zone around its
crippled nuclear plant.

The yen rebounded from an 11-month low against the euro and
a 2-1/2 year trough versus the Australian dollar, after the
latest earthquake, with a magnitude 6.6, prompted some
investors to unwind riskier bets often funded by cheap
borrowing in the Japanese currency.

“The good news for bulls as we enter earnings season is
that expectations appear to be low,” said Todd Salamone, senior
vice president of research at Schaeffer’s Investment Research
in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 42.46
points, or 0.34 percent, at 12,421.68. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 1.96 points, or 0.15 percent, at
1,330.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) was off 3.65
points, or 0.13 percent at 2776.95.

World stocks as measured by MSCI (.MIWD00000PUS: Quote, Profile, Research) were flat,
with emerging markets (.MSCIEF: Quote, Profile, Research) off 0.5 percent.

Although the world economy is fairly robust, there are
growing expectations among investors that accompanying higher
commodity prices will drive up inflation and prompt central
banks to tighten monetary policy sooner.

European stocks fell The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) index
of top European shares was down slightly.

Brent crude oil earlier fell by more than $1 on Monday to
below $125 but has since retraced some of its losses moving
above $126 a barrel and U.S. crude futures slipped under $112,
giving back some ground after Friday’s strong rally.

The African Union said Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had
accepted a roadmap to end the civil war in Libya, including an
immediate ceasefire, but an opposition representative said it
would only work if Gaddafi left power.

ICE Brent crude for May (LCOc1: Quote, Profile, Research) was last down 57 cents at
$126.09 a barrel after hitting an intraday low of $124.69 a
barrel, down almost $2. U.S. crude for May delivery (CLc1: Quote, Profile, Research) fell
74 cents to $112.05 a barrel.

YEN GAINS

The euro touched its highest against the yen since May 2010
of 123.33 yen (EURJPY=R: Quote, Profile, Research) on trading platform EBS. It later gave
up gains and was last down 0.5 percent at 122.13 yen.

Traders said speculator positioning and some technical
indicators suggested that recent rallies in the euro and the
Australian dollar against the yen could pause in the short run,
with the latest in a series of quakes being used by some to
book profits.

The euro fell 0.2 percent versus the dollar to $1.4450
(EUR=: Quote, Profile, Research), having hit a 15-month high of $1.4489 on Friday.

The dollar rebounded after steep losses on Friday, as the
U.S. government averted a potential shutdown, although analysts
said the focus on the debt ceiling debate could limit the
greenback’s gains.

“We’re having some sort of relief rally after the U.S.
government did not shut down as feared,” said David Watt,
senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto.

Expectations of another rise in European Central Bank
interest rates by July kept the euro close to recent highs and
pushed euro zone government bond prices lower.

German Bund yields (DE10YT=TWEB: Quote, Profile, Research) briefly rose above 3.5
percent from the first time since August 2009.

The ECB raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points last
week to 1.25 percent, the first hike since 2008, and used
language suggesting that another rise is in the pipeline.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Gaunt, Saikat Chatterjee,
Blaise Robinson and Anirban Nag in London; Gertrude Chavez and
Angela Moon in New York)
(Editing by Theodore d’Afflisio)

GLOBAL MARKETS-US stocks rise on earnings hope; oil slips