Global stocks advanced on Friday, anticipating an improvement in all-important U.S. monthly jobs data, while the dollar fell from a four-month high against the yen after Japan's new finance minister backed off his call for a weaker currency. Crude oil prices dipped, extending losses the previous day on worries about tighter Chinese monetary policy. Safe-haven government bonds were mostly steady. The latest Reuters poll suggested the U.S. economy stopped shedding jobs in December, as investors were more optimistic about the world's largest economy.
A poll of 84 economists on Thursday forecast non-farm payrolls, due at 1330 GMT, would be flat in December after dropping by 11,000 in November, far fewer than in previous months.
U.S. President Barack Obama will make a statement on the economy at 1940 GMT.
The jobs report is hopefully going to show us a steadily improving trend which will give us a bit more confidence, said Justin Urquhart Stewart, director at Seven Investment Management.
Global equities measured in the MSCI All-Country World Index <.MWID00000PUS> put on 0.3 percent, hovering near a 15-month high.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> rose 0.6 percent and Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> gained 1.1 percent, hitting its highest close in 15 months.
However, a strong jobs report would raise speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve could start tightening and even increase interest rates sooner than expected.
James Bullard, president of St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, said uncertainty about inflation was mounting in the United States, although price pressure remain subdued.
Overnight, other senior Fed officials placed different emphasis on inflation risks, with one warning failure to withdraw support policies soon enough could trigger inflation while another played down such risks.
DOLLAR EASES VS YEN
The dollar eased 0.2 percent against the yen to 93.10 after Naoto Kan, Japan's new finance minister, backed away from his call for a weaker yen and said currency levels should be determined by markets.
The U.S. currency was also weaker against the euro at $1.4331.
Overall the picture is still dollar positive -- the comments from Fed officials overnight were relatively hawkish which should keep the dollar supported, BNP Paribas currency strategist Ian Stannard said.
Oil prices were down 0.2 percent at $82.54 a barrel on concerns over tighter Chinese monetary policy.
China's Vice-Governor Yi Gang said in comments posted on Friday that the Chinese central bank will further improve the effectiveness of its monetary policy implementation, making it more targeted, while maintaining its appropriately loose stance.
Gold prices, deemed as a safe asset, ALSO eased.
Yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries were up 1 basis point at 3.841 percent, while those on 10-year Bunds were also up 1 basis points at 3.387 percent.
(Additional reporting by Joanne Frearson and Jessica Mortimer in London, editing by Mike Peacock)