April 25, 2012 / 6:08 AM / 6 years ago

Global shares, euro firm on debt demand, earnings hopes

LONDON (Reuters) - The euro hovered near a three-week high and global shares rose on Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting, due mainly to signs of good demand for euro zone sovereign debt before a German bond sale, and some strong corporate earnings.

The euro traded at $1.3197, which is within its recent range but off a two-week high of $1.3225 reached on Friday, while German bond yields edged up and gold and oil prices steadied.

Markets could take their cues from several planned public speeches by European Central Bank officials, which will be scrutinized for any signs it would consider more liquidity operations if the euro zone’s problems worsened.

Germany is due to sell 3 billion euros ($4 billion) of 2044 bonds in an auction some analysts say could be difficult given the low returns on offer, even though the rising political uncertainty in Europe made for a more favorable backdrop.

“We could imagine a fairly bumpy auction; it could actually be technically uncovered,” said Rainer Guntermann, strategist at Commerzbank.

The front month German Bund future was around 10 ticks lower at 140.52, pushing yields on 10-year bonds up 1.4 basis points to 1.63 percent.

European shares started firmer after good results from tech bellwether Apple (AAPL.O) overnight and as healthy numbers emerged from the likes of Spanish bank BBVA (BBVA.MC), Swedish telecom firm Ericsson (ERICb.ST) and engineering firm group ABB ABBN.VX.

    The FTSE Eurofirst .FTEU3 index of top European shares rose 0.2 percent to 1,034.90 points, and at the open most major country indexes were higher.

    Later, markets will be looking for the Fed’s economic assessment and clues to future monetary policy, including the probability of a third round of quantitative easing, when it ends its two-day meeting later in the day.

    Before then, the UK’s first quarter GDP report will be in focus, with most economists expecting Britain to escape a double-dip recession by a slim margin by posting growth of around 0.1 percent. ($1 = 0.7574 euros)

    Reporting by Richard Hubbard; Editing by Will Waterman

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