GLOBAL MARKETS-China data spurs stocks; Syria diplomacy cools debt, oil
* Wall Street stocks advance * European stocks rise, Asian shares ex-Japan hit three-month highs * China industrial output, retail sales add to optimism * Oil, safe-haven bonds pressured as Syria worries recede further By Ellen Freilich NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks climbed for a sixth straight session on Tuesday as the dollar and global equities rallied on more upbeat economic data from China, while prices of safe-haven debt and oil slipped on the chance of a diplomatic alternative to a potential Western military strike against Syria. The S&P 500 stock index, after suffering its worst monthly performance since May 2012 in August, has rallied to a 2.9 percent gain to start the month and is currently on its longest winning streak since early July. World shares advanced. MSCI's world index, which tracks 45 countries, rose 0.86 percent and was on course to chalk up its longest run of daily gains since December. Fears of action against Syria eased after U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday he saw a possible breakthrough in the crisis after Russia proposed that its ally Damascus hands over its chemical weapons for destruction, which could avert planned U.S. military strikes. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 95.87 points or 0.64 percent, to 15,158.99, the S&P 500 gained 9.02 points or 0.54 percent, to 1,680.73 and the Nasdaq Composite added 15.326 points or 0.41 percent, to 3,721.509. "Certainly there was the potential for escalation, which was the market's primary concern," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would press ahead with his plan to ask Congress to approve the use of military force in Syria, despite Syria's recent acceptance of the Russian proposal. News of stronger-than-expected industrial output and retail sales in China, adding to signs that the world's second-largest economy was stabilizing after slowing for two years, strengthened global equity markets as well. A 1.26 percent jump in European shares followed a three-month high for Asian stocks. "We had clients buying into the market first thing after the Chinese data, and they continue to hold their longs (bets on further rises) as well, so they seem pretty bullish," said Lee Curtis, a sales trader at City Index in London. Oil pulled back with U.S. crude off 2.3 percent to just above $107 a barrel. Crude prices rose 2.7 percent last week on worry a strike against Syria could spark a wider conflict and jeopardize supply. U.S. and German government safe-haven bonds and gold and other precious metals also backpedaled. Lower oil prices are supportive for global growth and usually a particularly positive development for Asia, a region that relies heavily on imports for its energy needs. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ended at its highest since early June as it extended its gains for the week to 2.5 percent, while Tokyo's Nikkei closed 1.5 percent higher. Upbeat industrial output and retail sales data from China on Tuesday added to evidence that its economic slowdown may have bottomed out. Enthusiasm for hard-hit emerging markets continued to revive after last week's weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data muted expectations about how fast the Federal Reserve would scale back its stimulus policy. A Reuters poll on Monday showed economists generally expect the Fed to announce a reduction in its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program by just $10 billion. The MSCI emerging equities index was at a three-month high as the day's 1.6 percent rise took its rally over the last nine trading sessions to almost 9 percent. The cooling Syria tensions and the better China data helped the dollar shake off some of its recent sluggishness and the euro sidestep some weaker-than-expected French output figures. The dollar rose to a near seven-week high against the yen on Tuesday as easing tensions over Syria and encouraging Chinese economic data eased demand for the safe-haven Japanese currency. The broader currency market trend away from safe-havens sent Japan's yen back below 100 to the dollar and to a 3-1/2-month low against the euro, while the Swiss franc also lost ground. The higher-yielding Australian and New Zealand dollars rallied as investors' appetite for risk increased. However, the dollar remained near a 1-1/2-week low against a basket of major currencies. The U.S. Treasury will auction $31 billion in three-year notes on Tuesday at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT). In "when-issued" activity, traders expected the upcoming three-year offering due September 2015 to sell at a yield of 0.917 percent. Hedging by dealers and investors preparing for a record corporate bond deal by Verizon was also seen adding to pressure on Treasuries. The company is expected to sell at least $20 billion, with pricing expected on Wednesday, according to IFR, a unit of Thomson Reuters. Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 4/32 in price to yield 2.93 percent. The yields have slipped from two-year highs of 3.01 percent on Friday, after a weaker-than-expected payrolls report led investors to believe that the Federal Reserve might cut its bond purchase program by less than previously anticipated, if at all, when it meets next week.
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