GLOBAL MARKETS-China, German data push shares to 5-year highs
* Major equity indexes hit five-year peaks * China reports stronger-than-forecast April trade data * March German industrial output also beats estimates * Euro rises on German data, copper gains on China By Herbert Lash NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - Global equity markets and the euro rose on Wednesday as strong Chinese trade data and signs that Germany may escape a sharp slowdown pushed shares to five-year highs worldwide, even as cracks appeared in this year's heady bull run. Stocks on Wall Street opened lower, then mostly pushed into the black, as did crude oil, with North Sea Brent and the U.S. benchmark straddling break-even as concerns persisted about global demand. China's daily crude imports in April rose 3.7 percent from a year ago, customs data showed, while German industrial output unexpectedly jumped in March, fanning hopes that Europe's top economy is gaining traction. The equity market rally showed few signs of letting up as huge injections of liquidity from leading central banks to boost their economies outweighed any doubts about the Chinese data. Though equities continue to move higher, with analysts citing the attractive valuation of stocks relative to other assets, the magnitude and speed of the rally has spurred talk of a pullback. The benchmark S&P 500 index is up 14 percent so far this year, and has climbed more than 6 percent in three weeks. "We've seen an amazing rally, and this is just a brief cooling-off period after an historic day," said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "While I expect a modest pullback over the next couple of months, that will be followed by even more gains." MSCI's all-country world equity index, which tracks stocks in 45 countries, rose 0.66 percent to a five-year high as top European shares followed their Asian counterparts. The FTSEurofirst 300, which reached its own five-year peak on Tuesday, was up 0.61 percent to 1,228.38. Wall Street pared early losses to trade higher. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 3.17 points, or 0.02 percent, at 15,059.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 3.10 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1,629.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 11.36 points, or 0.33 percent, at 3,407.99. The euro advanced against the dollar for a second straight session as the unexpected rise in German industrial output pared back prospects of a near-term interest rate cut in the euro zone. The euro rose 0.74 percent to $1.3174 as the safe-haven dollar softened and markets began to question whether the ECB would need to cut rates again. Copper - one of the commodities tied most closely to global growth prospects - jumped 2.38 percent to a three-week high of $7,438 a tonne. Brent fell 42 cents to $103.98 a barrel, while U.S. oil rose 34 cents to $95.96. U.S. Treasuries prices turned higher, erasing earlier losses. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 1/32 in price to yield 1.7743 percent.
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