TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares inched higher on Tuesday, following Wall Street's record close overnight as growing confidence in the U.S. economy overrode concerns in the euro zone, while the yen slipped to fresh lows on speculation over imminent monetary easing.
The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 stock index <.SPX> extended its winning streak to seven sessions and touched its highest intraday level since October 15, 2007 on Monday while the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> closed at a record 14447.29.
Reflecting rising risk appetite in the wake of Friday's solid U.S. jobs data, the CBOE Volatility Index or VIX, <.VIX> which is often used as a gauge for risk, ended Monday at the lowest level since February 2007.
The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was up 0.1 percent.
Australian shares <.AXJO> rose 0.1 percent after hitting a fresh 4-1/2-year high. South Korean shares <.KS11> opened up 0.2 percent.
Japan's Nikkei stock average <.N225> opened 0.7 percent higher at a fresh 4-1/2-year high, encouraged by the yen's drop which helps boost the earnings outlook for exporters. <.T>
The dollar rose to 96.71 yen early in Asia on Tuesday, its highest since August 2009, while the Australian dollar climbed to fresh 4-1/2 year highs on the yen of 99.37 yen, aided by a report the incoming Bank of Japan governor might convene an extraordinary meeting soon after taking office later this month.
The Nikkei news reported Haruhiko Kuroda, the nominee for BOJ governor, may launch new monetary easing steps soon after he takes office next week, rather than waiting for the bank's first regular policy board meeting in early April.
"Dollar/yen was already very bid overnight, consistent with the backup in U.S. Treasury yields. The Nikkei story has just given it a bit of a kick and it's certainly adding to yen weakness," said Sue Trinh, senior currency strategist at RBC in Hong Kong.
The euro was trading up 0.3 percent against the yen at 126 yen.
Against the dollar, the common currency was down 0.1 percent at $1.3030, weighed by worries about Italy's inconclusive elections last month delaying the country's fiscal reform efforts.
U.S. crude was steady around $92.05 a barrel.
(Additional reporting by Ian Chua in Sydney; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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