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. 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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