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Global Stocks Rise as Weaker Dollar Lifts Copper, Oil

Shares rose in Europe and Asia on Monday, helped by commodity stocks as the dollar held close to more than three-week lows hit after surprisingly weak jobs data led investors to rule out a rise in U.S. interest rates this month.

The diminishing prospect of a near-term rate hike, which had looked very likely, kept yields on low-risk U.S. Treasuries near lows touched after Friday's data while German equivalents fell closer to record levels.

A man reads newspaper in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Beijing
A man reads newspaper in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Beijing, China, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon REUTERS

The focus for traders and investors shifted to a speech later on Monday by Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Elsewhere, sterling fell more than 1 percent after opinion polls published over the weekend showed a pick-up in support for Britain voting to leave the European Union in a June 23 referendum.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 stocks index gained 0.1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100, which includes several major mining and oil and gas firms, rose 0.9 percent.

The price of copper hit its highest in four weeks and the gold price its highest in two while Brent crude oil rose above $50 a barrel on dollar weakness and the Fed outlook.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.9 percent. Australia's mining-heavy S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.8 percent.

However, a stronger yen against the dollar helped push Japan's Nikkei stock index down 0.4 percent.

The dollar, which suffered its biggest one-day drop against a basket of major currencies in four months on Friday, recovered some of the lost ground on Monday.

After hitting a one-month low of 106.35 yen on Friday, the dollar rose 0.6 percent to 107.12 yen. It also rose 0,1 percent to $1.1356 per euro .

Yellen speaks at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia at 12:30 p.m. today.

"Rate hike expectations for June have disappeared. And while the focus has shifted to July, we expect the dollar to be rather subdued this week, with not much of economic data out of the U.S.," said Yujiro Goto, currency strategist at Nomura.

Sterling fell 0.7 percent to $1.4420, having earlier fallen more than 1 percent to a low $1.4350 on the polls showing increased support for "Brexit".

German 10-year Bunds, the benchmark for euro zone borrowing costs, dipped to 0.069 percent, shrugging off a deeper-than-expected fall in German industrial orders. Bund yields fell on Friday as far as 0.065 percent, their lowest in more than a year, and were still close to a record low of 0.05 percent hit in April 2015.

The British opinion polls and gains by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in weekend Italian municipal elections also supported Bunds.

"We have a poll showing the leave camp in the lead in the UK and in Italy we see the 5-Star Movement gaining ground, so political risk is a key issue," said KBC strategist Piet Lammens.