London - The killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US forces prompted investors on Monday to strip some of the risk premium underpinning world asset prices, lifting the dollar, boosting stocks and weakening commodities.
Wall Street looked set to open with solid gains, lifted also by signs of economic growth in Europe and India.
Oil, gold and silver prices all fell as reaction to the death of the West's most wanted man swept across thinly traded financial markets.
But investors warned that this kind of reaction to major news is often only temporary, and the initial gains were already cooling.
"Markets across the globe received a bit of a boost ... as news broke that US forces had killed Osama bin Laden. However, like many euphoric bounces, they are often short-lived, especially given the possibility for reprisal attacks from extremists," said Ben Potter, market strategist at IG Index.
Holidays in many countries - including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Britain - meant trading was limited.
Nonetheless, the initial reaction was a boost for US assets and a modest fillip for equities.
The dollar rebounded from a three-year low against a basket of currencies, where it had languished as a result of perceptions that the US Federal Reserve is in no hurry to tighten its ultra-loose monetary policy.
The dollar was up 0.1%, well off its earlier daily highs. The announcement of bin Laden's death triggered short-covering demand for the dollar after the dollar index had hit its weakest since mid-2008.
Analysts said the news would have only a limited impact on the dollar in general because interest rates, not geopolitical events, are the overriding driver.
"Risk as a driver of the FX market has been much less than it has been ... The main trend is relative dollar weakness due to monetary policy," said Kasper Kirkegaard, currency strategist at Danske Bank in Copenhagen.
Dollar-sensitive oil and gold fell, dipping by as much as 2% at some point. US crude was down close to 1.8% below $112 a barrel compared with its 31-month peak of $114.18 set on Friday.
Silver tumbled 10%, its steepest fall since late 2008, hit by the dollar, increased margins for futures trading and a technical overhang after a 170% rally over the last 12 months to a record high last week.
"There is nothing from a fundamental perspective to cause a fall this large. Silver has been the most rapidly appreciating of the metals in the past months and if there was one that looked a bit frothy it was silver," said Ben Westmore, commodities economist at National Australia Bank.
European shares, minus Britain's usual contribution, gained around 0.2%, lifting MSCI's all-country world stock index by 0.2%.
Japan's Nikkei average earlier rose 1.4% on the day, closing above the closely watched 10 000 mark for the first time since the March 11 earthquake.
Economic news played into the mood. Euro zone factories ramped up output and prices last month while manufacturers in India also powered ahead, according to business surveys.
In China, monetary tightening looked to be biting more deeply than expected as the factory sector there cooled.
US Treasury yields initially pushed higher across the curve, with the 10-year rising from a six-week trough of 3.273%. It was later at 3.299%.
"By lowering national security risks overall, this is likely to bolster equity markets and lower US Treasury prices in a reverse flight to quality movement," said Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Investment Officer at PIMCO, which oversees $1.2 trillion in assets.
"Oil markets are likely to be the most volatile given their higher sensitivity to the tug of war between lower risk overall and the possibility of isolated disturbances in some parts of the Middle East and central Asia," he said.