GLOBAL MARKETS-China, German data push shares to 5-year highs

Wed May 8, 2013 12:47pm EDT

* 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.
    Stocks on Wall Street opened lower, then pushed into the
black as crude oil tried to do, 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 analysts cite the attractive valuation of stocks
relative to other assets, the magnitude and speed of the U.S.
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. Both
the S&P and the Dow closed at new highs on Tuesday, with the Dow
closing above 15,000 for the first time.
    "While the U.S. equity market is widely believed to be
tracking ahead of economic growth, broad market valuations are
fair and not at extremes, implying still further upside," said
Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth
Management.
    MSCI's all-country world equity index, which
tracks stocks in 45 countries, rose 0.74 percent to a five-year
high as top European shares followed their Asian counterparts.
    The FTSEurofirst 300 of leading regional shares
rose 0.7 percent to close at 1,229.43.
    The index has gained about 7 percent over the past three
weeks on the back of strong monetary support from central banks.
    "The market is on life support from the central banks. The
level of complacency in the market is very high at the moment
and we could get a correction anytime," FXCM analyst Nicolas
Cheron said.
    "It's time to take profits on a number of stocks that have
performed well lately, and to hedge the portfolios."
    Wall Street pared early losses to trade higher.
    The Dow Jones industrial average was up 11.89 points,
or 0.08 percent, at 15,068.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
 was up 4.36 points, or 0.27 percent, at 1,630.32. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 13.11 points, or 0.39
percent, at 3,409.74. 
  
    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 0.78 percent to $1.3179 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 to a three-week high of $7,480 a
tonne before paring some gains.
    Brent fell 47 cents to $103.93 a barrel, while U.S.
oil rose 39 cents to $96.01 a barrel.
    U.S. Treasuries prices turned higher, erasing earlier
losses. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
up 7/32 in price to yield 1.7553 percent.
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