Asian stocks outside of Japan hit record highs on Monday, but the dollar headed lower after a solid U.S. jobs report failed to dampen expectations for a further cut in interest rates.

European stock markets were set to open slightly higher, extending five straight days of gains, but with Japanese markets closed and no major economic data expected out of the United States due to the Columbus Day holiday, trade was expected to be light.

Financial bookmakers in London expect Britain's FTSE 100 index to open up 4 to 6 points, Germany's DAX flat to up 3 points and France's CAC 40 up 2 to 3 points.

By 2:01 a.m. EDT (0601 GMT), MSCI's measure of Asia Pacific stocks excluding Japan had risen 1.4 percent to 555.40 points, after hitting a record 556.43 earlier in the session.

The end of the year is looking quite good. The U.S. macroeconomic indicators are looking better than expected and sectors depending on China's good growth should continue to see momentum, said Kim Jeong-hwan, a strategist at Woori Investment and Securities.


MSCI's All Country World Index brushed a fresh peak as indexes around Asia notched up record highs.

Australian shares rose 0.7 percent, after earlier hitting a lifetime high, with U.S.-focused firms such as James Hardie Industries gaining on renewed optimism about the U.S. economy, while firmer base metal prices boosted mining firms.

China's stock market also rose to a record after reopening following a week-long holiday break, with financial shares leading the charge, while Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 1.3 percent to a new all-time high.

Taiwan's benchmark index was up 1 percent at a two-month closing high and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.1 percent. Seoul shares ended 0.8 percent higher after earlier hitting an all-time high.


Solid employment data on Friday did little to convince investors the U.S. economy is growing fast enough to keep the Federal Reserve from cutting interest rates again.

The dollar was pressured again on Monday as analysts concluded the U.S. jobs market was still weakening and the Fed Reserve could cut rates again before year-end.

People are very cautious about the U.S. dollar's direction at the moment, said Ellison Chu of Standard Bank London in Hong Kong.

This week is very crucial, especially comments from the FOMC this week, said Chu.

The Federal Open Market Committee on Tuesday will issue the minutes of its September 18 meeting, at which it slashed the fed funds rate by a half percentage point to 4.75 percent.

People will play it safe at this moment. I don't think the market will go up that high at the moment and if I was an investor I would wait and see, Chu said.

The dollar index, a gauge of the currency's value against a basket of major currencies, was at 78.32, above last week's record low of 77.66 but down from 78.819 hit after the jobs data.

The Australian dollar hit a 23-year high of $0.9023 early on Monday, while the Japanese yen, which is often used to fund carry trades, was under selling pressure.

The yen was quoted at 117.11 per dollar, a shade weaker than Friday's close at 116.89.

Traders expected the euro to be listless ahead of a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers in Luxembourg later in the day.

Even the strong non-farm payrolls isn't helping the dollar, said Magnus Prim, a strategist at SEB in Singapore.

There is more weakness to come. I am looking at $1.45 in 3 months, he said, referring to the euro.

The euro changed hands at $1.4135 on Monday, barely changed from late Friday.

Oil prices fell, extending the previous session's losses, as investors turned their focus to a slowdown in the U.S. economy after hurricane concerns in the Atlantic abated.

U.S. crude fell 47 cents to $80.75 a barrel in Globex electronic trading.

Gold tiptoed lower to $740.40/741.20, barely changed from $741.10/741.90 in New York on Friday.