GLOBAL MARKETS-Euro, stocks gain on modest euro zone, China data

Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:46am EDT

* German, Chinese PMI data less gloomy than expected

* Hopes of more Fed stimulus also buoy markets

* Euro rises against dollar

* Gold retreats after hitting fresh record high

By Dominic Lau

LONDON, Aug 23 (Reuters) - World stocks, the euro and commodities rose on Tuesday, after gauges of Chinese and euro zone economic activity came in less gloomy than feared, encouraging investors to dip back into the market after a recent sharp selloff on global growth concerns.

Although the euro zone and Chinese PMI data showed economic activity was likely to slow, they indicated there was still some growth.

Hopes of more stimulus from the U.S. central bank also buoyed markets, which shrugged off much weaker-than-expected readings of the ZEW business sentiment index for Germany, the single currency bloc's largest economy.

"Any data that just hints that the world is not ending is going to be well received by the markets," Ian Richards, European equity strategist at RBS, said.

Financial markets have stabilised in the past two sessions after a few weeks of turmoil amid mounting fears of a new global crash to match that of 2008.

U.S. stock index futures SPc1 DJc1 NDc1 climbed 1.2 to 1.4 percent, indicating a firm start on Wall Street.

Gold retreated more than 1 percent, after punching another record high in Asia at $1,911.46 an ounce, as investors dipped into riskier assets, while oil prices held steady, with Brent crude LCOc1 above $108.50 a barrel, as government loyalists in Libya staged a fight back.

World stocks measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index advanced 0.9 percent on Tuesday, leaving the benchmark down more than 12 percent this month and looking likely to post its biggest monthly percentage drop since October 2008, just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1.2 percent, extending the previous session's 0.8 percent rise, while Tokyo's Nikkei average ended 1.2 percent higher.

Some investors were also hoping the U.S. Federal Reserve would flag further stimulus when central bankers gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, late this week, a year after Chairman Ben Bernanke launched a second round of a government bond buying programme, known as quantitative easing, to revive the economy.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told Japan's Nikkei newspaper that the Fed could buy more bonds or make a commitment on the size of its balance sheet if the economy weakens and deflation reappears, but said the time was not yet right for such moves.

"Many of the gains being seen here seem to be coming off the expectation that the Fed will serve up further stimulus measures, possibly as soon as the end of this week," said Cameron Peacock, market analyst at IG Markets.

"Clearly with this being priced in, failure to deliver here will see traders heading for the exits once again."

LESS GLOOMY FOR NOW

For now, investors seemed to be prepared to chase riskier assets again, putting worries about a possible global recession and the euro zone sovereign debt crisis on the back burner.

The euro was up 0.8 percent at $1.4469 on Tuesday, while the Australian dollar edged 0.9 percent higher to $1.0494.

The dollar was down 0.4 percent at 76.58 yen , still holding above a record low of 75.94 yen struck late last week as market players were wary of any yen-selling intervention by Japanese authorities.

The U.S. currency has lost 5.6 percent against the yen this year and more than 15 percent versus the Swiss franc , as investors sought safety.

"Japanese officials continue to express concern about yen strength, with the volume only likely to build ahead of the Democratic Party of Japan leadership election expected on Monday," BNP Paribas said in a note.

"Accordingly, we continue to see intervention risk build as the week progresses, even if from a market point of view there seems little to argue for intervention just ahead of Jackson Hole."

Copper gained 1.7 percent to trade above $8,800 a tonne, rebounding on relief that PMI data showed China's economy is slowing only slightly.

Yields on 10-year benchmark German Bunds rose 4.4 basis points to 2.145 percent. (Additional reporting by Atul Prakash and Anirban Nag in London; Editing by Anna Willard, John Stonestreet)

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