* Asian stock markets: https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
* Global asset performance http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn
* World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO, April 16 (Reuters) - Asian shares were little changed on Friday ahead of a raft of Chinese economic data, while world stocks on the whole flew at a record level, fuelled by strong U.S. economic data that may herald a solid recovery ahead.
China will release a series of economic data later in the day, including its first-quarter GDP.
MSCI's broadest gauge of world stocks .MIWD00000PUS stood flat after 0.89 percent gains the previous day to a record high.
"U.S. economic data released yesterday was all strong, confirming the U.S. economy is firmly on a recovery track," said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) Securities.
Retail sales rebounded 9.8% in March, the largest increase since May 2020, in a gain that pushed the level of sales 17.1% above its pre-pandemic level to a record high. brightening economic prospects were underscored by other data, including first-time claims for unemployment benefits tumbling last week to the lowest level since March 2020.
Despite strong data, U.S. bond yields dropped, in part driven by Japanese buying, as they have began a new financial year this month.
The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield dropped to 1.529%, a five-week low, on Thursday and last stood at 1.566% US10YT=TWEB , off its 14-month high of 1.776% set at the end of March.
"The market has already fully priced in an U.S. economic recovery in the near term. And if the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates on hold for the next two to three years, no doubt the carry of U.S. bonds would be very attractive compared with Japanese or euro zone bonds," said Chotaro Morita, chief fixed income strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities.
The fall in long-term bond yields benefited stocks, and particularly tech shares, given the idea that their historically expensive valuations can be justified because investors would have no choice but to buy shares to make up for low returns from bonds.
In the currency market, lower U.S. yields were a drag on the U.S. dollar.
Oil prices held firm after hitting a four-week highs on Thursday following positive U.S. economic data and higher demand forecasts from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and OPEC.
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ World FX rates YTD
http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh Global asset performance
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Editing by Gerry Doyle)
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