TOKYO, July 4 (Reuters) – Key TOCOM rubber futures rose to a two-week peak on Wednesday, helped by higher oil and share prices overnight, while strong U.S. auto sales data eased concerns about economic contagion spreading from the euro zone’s debt crisis.
* It earlier rose as far as 257.2 yen, its highest since June 18.
* The TOCOM market last week touched a 2-1/2 year low of 227.8 yen amid concerns about demand in China and Europe.
* Most major automakers showed stronger-than-expected U.S. June sales gains as low interest rates, falling gas prices and still-significant incentives encouraged consumers to set aside concerns about the economy.
* The European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates to a record low on Thursday, but may need to do more to satisfy financial markets already starting to wonder about the solidity of last week’s summit measures to tackle the euro zone crisis.
* A key U.S. jobs report for June is due on Friday.
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* U.S. stocks extended a rally for a third day on Tuesday as sharp gains in oil prices lifted energy shares and traders factored in increased expectations for central bank stimulus.
* Japan’s Nikkei share average was up 0.6 percent in early trade on Wednesday.
* Brent crude rose more than 3 percent on Tuesday, topping $100 a barrel as rising tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme sparked oil’s second rally in three sessions after a second-quarter slide.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday:
0758 EZ Markit Services PMI Jun 2012
0230 China HSBC Services PMI June
(Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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