* Stocks inch ahead in Asia as EU banking worries fade
* Busy week includes talk by Fed's Yellen, China Q2 GDP
* Oil near three-month lows despite violence in Gaza
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, July 14 (Reuters) - Asian share markets edged higher
on Monday as euro zone banking jitters faded, to be replaced by
caution ahead of corporate earnings and a raft of global
economic events including testimony from the head of the Federal
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was up 0.2 percent, with Seoul putting
on 0.4 percent. Japan's Nikkei rose a modest 0.2 percent
after several sessions of losses.
European markets had calmed on Friday as investors decided
that losses associated with the founding family of Banco
Espirito Santo were unlikely to disrupt Portugal's
financial system or revive broader worries about the bloc's
The S&P 500 EMini contract was trading up 0.1 percent
on Monday, after the cash index ended with similar gains
on Friday. The Dow closed up 0.17 percent, while the
Nasdaq added 0.44 percent.
Attention will be on shares in Citigroup, which
sources said would announce on Monday a deal to pay $7 billion
to resolve a U.S. government investigation into shoddy
Many of the major banks report earnings this week, along
with big tech names including Intel Corp, Yahoo Inc
, eBay Inc and Google Inc.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's two-day appearance in
the U.S. Congress from Tuesday will dominate global markets,
which want above all to know how long rates might stay near zero
once the central bank ends its asset-buying programme.
The futures market <0#FF:> rallied sharply last week as
investors again pushed out the likely timing of a rate hike into
the second half of 2015.
Data from the U.S. this week includes retail sales,
industrial production and several housing indicators.
In Asia, China reports gross domestic product (GDP) for the
second quarter on Wednesday, along with other data including
retail sales for June.
Analysts estimate the Chinese economy grew 7.4 percent
compared to the same quarter last year, and anything less than
that would likely unsettle markets.
The Bank of Japan concludes a two-day meeting on Tuesday and
might have to trim its growth forecasts in the wake of
disappointing second quarter data.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will speak at
the European Parliament later on Monday while the EU 28 Summit
on Wednesday will see Jean Claude Juncker confirmed as EC
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and his deputy Andrew
Bailey face questions from the British parliament on Tuesday,
while jobs figures the day after will influence the outlook for
Currency markets were quiet on Monday with the dollar index
steady around 80.209, a level it has gravitated towards
since recovering from a two-month low of 79.740 on July 1. The
euro bought $1.3603, having stuck to a tight range around
$1.3600 for over a week now.
Against the yen, the greenback fetched 101.37,
holding off a seven-week trough of 101.06 plumbed last Thursday.
The euro was near 138.00 yen, recovering from last
week's fall to a five-month low of 137.50.
Gold was a shade firmer at $1,338.40 an ounce, not
far from a 3-1/2 month high of $1,345 reached last week. Prices
for the safe haven metal have been supported in part by the
intensified fighting in Gaza.
Yet oil markets seem to have become less concerned that the
violence in the Middle East would affect fuel supply in any
major way, pulling prices steadily lower.
Brent crude oil was a cent firmer at $106.67 a
barrel and just off a three month-trough of $106.27. U.S. crude
added 2 cents to $100.85 per barrel.
(Editing by Richard Borsuk)