* Asian shares gain 0.4%, Nikkei up 0.9%
* European stock futures up 0.15-0.3%
* U.S. S&P500 futures up 0.2%, erasing Wednesday's losses
* World stocks on track to make biggest monthly gain ever
* 2020 asset performance http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn
TOKYO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Asian shares advanced on Thursday
as market euphoria over COVID-19 vaccines and expectations a
Biden administration would deliver more economic stimulus and
political predictability overrode a slate of weak U.S. economic
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
rose 0.39% while Japan's Nikkei gained
European stock futures eked out gains of
0.30% before the start of cash equity trading.
MSCI's broadest gauge of the world's shares covering 49
markets added 0.15%, bringing gains so far this
month to 12.8%, on course for a record monthly increase.
The rally started after Democrat Joe Biden's U.S. election
victory earlier this month raised hopes for more government
spending to support the pandemic-hit economy and for more policy
predictability after four years of Donald Trump's presidency.
"Reduced policy uncertainties are helping markets. It will
be easier for companies to make capital expenditures," said
Arihiro Nagata, general manager of global investment at Sumitomo
"It's true that stock prices are quite expensive but markets
are finding fewer and fewer reasons to sell them. In this
environment, you can't make profits by selling. The only
question to ask is what assets you should buy."
U.S. S&P 500 future rose 0.2% in Thursday's Asian
trade while Nasdaq futures rallied 0.4%.
On Wall Street on Wednesday, the S&P 500 index shed
0.16% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.58%, though
the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite increased 0.47%.
Traders attributed the brief softness in S&P 500 and the Dow
Jones to weak U.S. economic data.
Figures from the U.S. Labor Department's weekly jobless
claims suggested that an explosion in new COVID-19 infections
and business restrictions were boosting layoffs and undermining
But with more than 20 million people on jobless benefits,
investors bet the Federal Reserve will have no choice but to
keep its ultra-easy policy to support the pandemic-stricken
Minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting showed
policymakers consider giving markets a better steer on how long
they will continue to buy bonds to support an economy under
siege from new coronavirus infections.
"It's somewhat out of character that they mention taking
this step 'fairly soon' when they havent begun a discussion of
this with the public," wrote Michael Feroli, chief U.S.
economist at J.P. Morgan in New York.
The Fed could extend the maturity of its Treasury purchases
if its board members judge that deterioration in the pandemic
warrants more policy accommodation, he added.
In commodities, oil prices rose for a fifth day as a
surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories added to the positive
mood stemming from hopes of demand recovery.
U.S. crude rose 0.46% to $46.06 per barrel and Brent
gained 0.51% to $48.86.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar stayed under
pressure as riskier currencies benefited from the increased
The dollar's index against a basket of major currencies
dipped 0.07% to 91.919, hitting its lowest levels in
almost three months.
The euro held firm at $1.1929 while sterling also
stood near three-month high at $1.3389.
The yen was little moved at 104.34 yen to the dollar.
Trade was slow as U.S. financial markets will be closed on
Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. bonds and stocks
will trade on a partial schedule on Friday.
Bitcoin fell 4% to $17,909, pulling off from a
near-three-year high touched the previous day. Still, the
crypto-currency sits on gains of about 30% so far this month.
(Additional reporting by Katanga Johnson in Washington; Editing
by Sam Holmes and Lincoln Feast.)