Asian shares touched a one-year high on Tuesday, while gold prices hit $1,000 an ounce for the first time in six months in a sign of investor concerns about the sustainability of the global economic recovery.
Asian shares shrugged off a lack of direction from holidaying U.S. markets and most powered higher, including laggards such as the Nikkei, which has yet to recover levels it touched a year ago despite a rise of nearly 50 percent from its March lows.
European and U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher start even though financial spread betters expected main European indices to slip back with profit-taking eating into gains that took them near 11-month closing highs.
The MSCI index of Asian shares excluding Japan rose to its highest in a year, gaining 0.9 percent.
Spot gold and U.S. gold futures both rose as high as $1,000 an ounce, the strongest since February, with both simmering economic worries and longer term inflation concerns driving the gains. But both soon fell back.
Analysts warned volume was thin and that momentum could soon wane, with a tendency of big Asian consumers to sell into rising prices.
I don't know if it will stay there for a particularly long (period). My view is that by the end of the year the gold price will be lower, probably down to around $950 an ounce, said David Moore, a commodities strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Many investors are worried that stock market rallies have got ahead of a global economic recovery that they fear will not create jobs and will be hard to sustain once government stimulus efforts fade.
But gains by shares in gold producers helped lift Australian stocks toward their highest close in 11 months, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rising 1.4 percent to 4,517.4.
Resources deals also gave the Australian market a boost.
State-owned China Railway Materials Commercial Corp is set to take a stake in iron ore explorer FerrAus and Chinese state-owned power producer China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co. Ltd agreed a takeover for uranium explorer Energy Metals.
News of a $16.7 billion bid by North America's Kraft Foods for UK confectioner Cadbury was also taken as a sign of recovery after the turmoil of the past year, even though the bid was rejected.
In Taiwan, shares rose 1.2 percent to a one-year high as a smaller-than-expected fall in exports in August from a year earlier offset the surprise resignation of its prime minister, a move not expected to have big political or economic impact.
Notoriously volatile Shanghai shares opened down 0.5 percent as profit-taking set in after five days of gains but then turned higher, while the Nikkei closed up 0.7 percent after drifting between negative and positive territory.
Semiconductor-linked shares gained, with Tokyo Electron rising 2.4 percent and chip-equipment tester Advantest gaining 1.5 percent.
Some analysts thought the rise in gold might be driven by concerns about the dollar's strength, with investors using it as a hedge against dollar weakness as the greenback edged lower.
The dollar index, its measure against a basket of six currencies, slipped slightly further toward August's 10-month low. The dollar also lost 0.3 percent to 92.75 yen
Growth-linked currencies, such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars held near one-year highs set against the U.S. dollar on Monday.
Oil rose above $68 a barrel ahead of an OPEC meeting, which analysts believe may see more rhetoric on compliance but no change in output targets.
(Additional reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)