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By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian stocks resumed their ascent on Friday, supported by U.S. earnings optimism and a rise in oil prices while the euro edged higher as the European Central Bank signalled an end to its massive stimulus.
Wall Street's three major stock indexes hit record highs with earnings for S&P 500 companies expected to have increased by 11.8 percent in the recently-ended quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
MSCI's broadest gauge of the world's stock markets <.MIWD00000PUS> also hit a record high on Thursday, having risen in seven of the eight business days so far this year for a total increase of 3.3 percent.
China's currency regulator dismissed the report but said it is diversifying its foreign exchange reserves in order to safeguard their value.
The 10-year Treasuries yield stood at 2.550 percent
On the other hand, the benchmark German 10-year Bunds yield hit a five-month high of 0.532 percent
With the euro zone seeing its best growth in a decade, the ECB should gradually shift its stance to avoid a more disruptive move later and look at a broader revision of its policy guidance to reduce the focus on bond purchases and raise the emphasis on interest rates, they showed.
"I would imagine the ECB is dying to give it a try to end negative interest rates after September. If that doesn't go down well in markets, the bank will modify its message but it should want to at least test the water," said Yoshinori Shigemi, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.
On the other hand, the dollar was broadly weak after U.S. wholesale price dipped in December from November, reinforcing investors' expectations of a tame inflation.
Bitcoin flirted with this year's low, having fallen 11.1 percent on Thursday after the government in South Korea, one of a major source of digital currency demand, unveiled plans to ban cryptocurrency trading.
On the Bitstamp Exchange, it traded at $13,000, down 1.6 percent in early Asian Friday trade. It has lost 6 percent so far this year.
Brent crude futures
Brent has gained 5 percent since the beginning of the year, picking up from its late-year surge.
(Editing by Sam Holmes)
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)