Asian shares rise in early trade, track Wall Street

Asian shares rose in early trading on Friday, buoyed by another record close on Wall Street, while the dollar groaned under the pressure of slumping US yields.

The S&P 500 index posted its third record closing high in four sessions, as investors shrugged off the first quarterly contraction of the US economy in three years and focused on signs of a strengthening labour market.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added about 0.2%, on track for a modest weekly rise, after hitting one-year highs for the fifth time in the last six sessions. Japan's Nikkei stock average edged up 0.1%.

US first-quarter gross domestic product fell a steeper-than-forecast 1%, but the drop was not enough to quash expectations of a second-quarter recovery. A decline in weekly jobless claims underscored a strengthening labour market.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasuries last traded at 2.469%, up from the US close of 2.447% but still not far from its lowest levels since last June, touched this week, on fading expectations that the Federal Reserve will begin raising US rates any time soon.

"10-year yields in the US, Europe and Japan are near cyclical lows, on growing evidence of central banks' willingness to keep rates low for long, led by a dovish Fed and speculations on ECB easing next week," strategists at Barclays said in a note to clients.

Reuters reported earlier this month that the ECB is preparing a package of policy options for its June 5 meeting that includes cuts in all its interest rates.

The euro was steady at $1.3601 but not far from Thursday's three-month low of $1.3586.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, eased slightly to 80.477.

The yen was slightly higher against the dollar, which bought 101.73, down about 0.1%.

Data released early on Friday showed Japan's core consumer prices jumped 3.2% in April from a year earlier, the fastest gain since February 1991 after a hike to Japan's national sales tax led to price increases.

Spot gold was steady at $1,255.66 an ounce after dropping to its lowest level since early February in the previous session.

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