GLOBAL MARKETS-Dow hits record, commodities rise on China bets

Tue Mar 5, 2013 10:34am EST

* Central banks expected to extend easy policies

* Brent crude ends a five-day losing streak

* Copper gains as China pledges to maintain growth

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday hit a record high to lead global equity markets higher on bets on global growth after China announced record spending this year, while commodity prices also advanced.

Outgoing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced the spending, aimed at sustaining growth in the world's second-largest economy, while China's new rulers were set to focus on consumer-led growth to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

On Wall Street, the Dow hit the highest level ever as it broke the previous intraday record of 14,198.10 set on Oct. 11, 2007.

"It's meaningful in the sense it obviously has a lot of media potential - it's likely to move stories about the stock market to the front page from the financial section. From that point of view it is good news in that it tends to lift spirits or raise confidence," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York.

"There is the wealth effect of the fact that when you start to lift confidence it leads to stronger consumer spending. From that point of view it will have positive feedback on the economy."

An MSCI gauge of global equities rose 1 percent and European shares bolted 1.6 percent higher.

Still, even as the Dow hit a record high, its euro zone peer, the blue chip Euro STOXX 50 still needs to gain 71 percent to reach its June 2007 top.

In the oil market, Brent crude bucked a five-day losing streak to rise to near $111 a barrel, as the North Sea Brent pipeline remained closed for a third day and investors bet on strong Chinese oil demand.

Brent crude oil rose 0.6 percent towards $111 per barrel while U.S. crude added 41 cents to $90.53.

Copper prices jumped 0.9 percent after top consumer China's pledge to maintain economic growth at 7.5 percent. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose to $7,792 a ton.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 127.04 points or 0.9 percent, to 14,254.86, the S&P 500 gained 13.59 points or 0.89 percent, to 1,538.79 and the Nasdaq Composite added 32.33 points or 1.02 percent, to 3,214.36.

Demand for riskier assets has also been supported by unprecedented levels of liquidity injections by the world's major central banks, and investors are seizing on any signs this will continue.

Comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve's vice chair Janet Yellen on Monday backing the current aggressive stimulus effort, and a decision by Australia's Reserve Bank to keep interest rates at record lows were the latest signs policies will remain in place.

The Bank of Japan, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are all expected to either keep current loose policies in place or add extra stimulus after their policy meetings this week.

The euro was little changed against the U.S. dollar, bolstered by better-than-expected euro zone economic data though gains were capped as investors weighed the chances the ECB will cut interest rates this week.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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