TOKYO, April 26 (Reuters) - Key TOCOM rubber futures rose to a near two-week high on Friday, supported by a large drop in weekly U.S. jobless claims that allayed concerns about the nation's economic recovery, boosting optimism about global demand.
* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for October delivery was changing hands 4.5 yen, or 1.7 percent, higher at 263.6 yen as of 0021 GMT. The benchmark contract rose as high as 265.8 yen, the highest since April 15.
* The Bank of Japan is expected to stand pat at its policy meeting later in the day after it stunned financial markets on April 4 with sweeping stimulus measures that have buoyed Japanese stocks.
* Investors will also focus on U.S. GDP data due at 1230 GMT, which is expected to show that growth in the world's top economy quickened to 3 percent in the first quarter from 0.4 percent in October-December.
* Market participants may refrain from active dealing ahead of a series of holidays next week in Japan and in China. The Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) is closed on April 29 and May 3 for the Golden Week holiday and the Shanghai Futures Exchange is closed between April 29 and May 1 for the Labour Day holiday.
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* U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, lifted by stronger-than-expected earnings and a large drop in weekly jobless claims. The S&P 500, up for five straight sessions, traded within a point of its record closing high before shedding about half of the day's gains.
* The dollar recovered from losses to trade higher against the euro on Thursday.
* Oil prices rose as much as $2 on Thursday as new reports over Syria's possible use of chemical weapons stirred concerns over stability in the Gulf region, while a wider rally in commodity and equity markets fueled buying.
* Japan's Nikkei average advanced in early trade on Friday, holding just below the 14,000-mark, a level not seen since June 2008.
* The following data is expected on Friday: (Time in GMT)
- N/A Bank of Japan policy decision
0600 Germany Import prices
0645 France Consumer confidence
0800 Euro zone M3 money supply
Q1 GDP (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Richard Pullin)