GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks rise on data; euro falls before ECB meet

Wed Mar 6, 2013 3:19pm EST

* U.S. crude oil briefly dips below $90
    * MSCI world share index just under June 2008 high
    * Yen hits week low versus greenback


    By Rodrigo Campos
    NEW YORK, March 6 (Reuters) - The blue-chip Dow Jones index
extended its record-breaking run on Wednesday and world stock
markets edged higher led by strong gains in Asia, while the euro
slid against the dollar a day before a European Central Bank
meeting.
    U.S. data showing a steady manufacturing sector and
surprisingly strong gains in private employment supported equity
markets. Stocks, despite record highs, are still at attractive
valuations, analysts said.
    The U.S. dollar extended gains against the euro and the yen.
    Bets that the ECB at its policy meeting on Thursday could
signal future interest-rate cuts pressured the euro. The Bank of
Japan will begin a two-day meeting on Thursday, but it is
expected to hold its fire this week.
    The market is turning its attention to the BoJ's April 3-4
meeting, the first policy review under its new governor,
Haruhiko Kuroda, who is an advocate of aggressive monetary
easing.
    In late afternoon trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones
industrial average rose 57.83 points or 0.41 percent, to
14,311.6, the S&P 500 gained 3.62 points or 0.24 percent,
to 1,543.41 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.47 points
or 0.01 percent, to 3,224.6.
    The Dow hit a record intraday high and the broader S&P 500
was 1.5 percent away from its all-time closing record.
    "I'm surprised at the speed of the gains," said Jim
McDonald, chief investment strategist at Chicago-based Northern
Trust Global Investments. "But stocks are still not expensive,
and we can expect to continue getting a reasonable advance from
here."
    The S&P 500 index is trading at 13.6 times estimated
12-month earnings, compared with around 14.9 times in October
2007, when the index hit the record high that was finally
eclipsed on Tuesday, according to Thomson Reuters data. The
price/earnings multiple suggests that stocks are still about 9
percent cheaper than they were at the 2007 peak.
    The MSCI world index rose 0.2 percent.
    The pan-European ESTOXX 50 slipped 0.1 percent,
and the FTSEurofirst 300 fell 0.3 percent. 
    Overnight in Asia, the Nikkei hit its highest in
4-1/2 years, helped by Tuesday's record high close on Wall
Street and prospects of a reflationary policy in Japan to revive
growth.
   
    EURO, TREASURIES WEAKEN
    The better-than-expected U.S. private-sector jobs figures
reported by payrolls processor ADP on Wednesday dented the
allure of Treasuries. The figures comes two days ahead of the
government's closely watched monthly payrolls report.
    The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
down 13/32, the yield at a seven-day high of 1.9409 percent.
    "We had ADP employment data today which surprised to the
upside and that helped take (yields) higher," said Jake Lowery,
Treasury trader at ING Investment Management in Atlanta.
    "We have got supply coming next week, right around the
corner after payrolls, and it seems that with Treasuries trading
in a pretty tight range lately, more and more market
participants are focusing on small opportunities around the
supply calendar."
    The U.S. Treasury is set to auction three-year and 10-year
notes next week, along with 30-year bonds.
    The euro fell against the U.S. dollar ahead of the ECB
meeting.
    "The market has turned dovish on the ECB and that kept the
euro constrained," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist
at BNP Paribas in New York. "While most are expecting the ECB to
keep rates steady, there are a few calls for a rate cut
tomorrow, including our bank."
    The euro was down 0.45 percent against the greenback
at $1.2991.
    The dollar also strengthened against the Japanese currency
, hitting a one-week high above 94 yen.
    Copper slumped after a two-day rebound, weighed by
uncertainty about metals demand in China, the world's top
consumer, and economic growth in Europe.
    Three-month copper fell 0.85 percent to $7,706 a
ton, erasing initial gains that took it above $7,812.
    Areas of concern for the global economy remain, including
the Chinese government's move to cool the country's overheated
property market, the possible economic impact of U.S. spending
cuts and political deadlock in Italy.
    Brent oil pared losses to fall 0.5 percent, near
$111 a barrel, while U.S. crude briefly slipped below
$90, before settling down 0.4 percent at $90.43.
    U.S. crude oil inventories rose more than forecast last week
while distillates stocks fell more than expected as refinery
utilization rates posted a surprise drop, data from the Energy
Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
    Gold rose in late trading on expectations central banks
would maintain loose monetary policy, but still in the tight
range the price has kept in recent sessions.
    Spot gold was up 0.4 percent $1,581.51 an ounce.
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