GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares falter on U.S. data, oil rises on China

Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:11am EST

* Weak reading of U.S. factory data takes steam out of equities

* Euro hits 6-week high vs dollar on Greek debt moves

* Crude rises after China, No. 2 consumer, posts upbeat data

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Global shares faltered on Monday after U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in November, falling to the lowest in more than three years, but crude prices rose on signs of revived growth in China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer.

In a sign U.S. manufacturing may be struggling to gain traction, the Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity fell to 49.5 from 51.7 in October.

The figure was the softest since July 2009, when the U.S. economy was struggling in the aftermath of the financial crisis and may have been affected by superstorm Sandy, which hit the U.S. East Coast in late October.

A Reuters poll of economists had expected a 51.3 reading.

Wall Street opened higher, following gains in European equity markets, upbeat factory data from China and a slower contraction in European manufacturing, but subsequently moved lower.

"We have a bit of a downside in ISM data compared with expectations, which signals the U.S. economic recovery will not be roaring away," said Ole Hansen, Saxo Bank vice president.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 35.25 points, or 0.27 percent, at 12,990.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.84 points, or 0.13 percent, at 1,414.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.79 points, or 0.03 percent, at 3,011.03.

European shares trimmed gains on the U.S. manufacturing report. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.06 percent at 1,120 after earlier rising to 1,128.65, its highest level in 17 months. World shares were up 0.1 percent at 332.92.

The euro leaped to its highest level against the U.S. dollar in six weeks as concerns abated about debt-burdened Greece and Spain while Chinese data allayed worries about global growth.

The euro was up 0.5 percent at $1.3049, while the U.S. dollar index fell 0.29 percent to 79.920.

Government debt prices fell.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 6/32 in price to yield 1.6335 percent.

Oil rose above $112 per barrel, spurred by signs that growth is picking up in China, before leveling off.

Brent futures were off 4 cents at $111.19 per barrel. U.S. crude rose 33 cents to $89.24 per barrel.