GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar, US stocks gain; stocks elsewhere fall on mixed data

Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:24am EST

* Surge in factory activity boosts U.S. equities

* Weak euro zone, Chinese data hit global shares

* Euro falls vs dollar after PMI data

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Feb 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks and the dollar mostly rose on Thursday on data showing that U.S. factory activity accelerated in February at its fastest pace in nearly four years, but economic surveys showing a soft patch in China and parts of Europe dragged on global equity markets.

Markit's preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 56.7 in February, its highest level since May 2010, from a final reading for January of 53.7. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

"The manufacturing data is extremely positive, especially coming after a spate of bad news at a time when the (Federal Reserve) seems committed to slowing stimulus," said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group in New York.

Even so, Colas said the U.S. equity market's strength is somewhat surprising given weakness in overseas markets.

"It is good to see investors buying on dips, but I've also been hearing a lot more bearish chatter," Colas said.

Shares in Europe and emerging markets fell as a contraction in Chinese manufacturing set a gloomy tone, which was reinforced by data showing an unexpected stall in activity in parts of the euro zone.

Markit's Composite Purchasing Managers' Index for the euro zone dipped in February, although it held just below January's 31-month high. The service sector in France shrank at its fastest pace in nine months.

MSCI's all-country world equity index, a measure of equity markets in 45 countries, was down 0.26 percent. Its emerging markets index was down 0.92 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares fell 0.26 percent.

Stocks on Wall Street were higher. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 54.49 points, or 0.34 percent, to 16,095.05. The S&P 500 gained 5.68 points, or 0.31 percent, to 1,834.43, and the Nasdaq Composite added 12.172 points, or 0.29 percent, to 4,250.126.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's biggest retailer, was the Dow's bigger decliner, falling 2.4 percent to $73.07 after the company reported a drop in U.S. same-store sales and gave an earnings outlook that was below expectations.

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc hit an all-time high of $215.21 a day after it reported fourth-quarter results that topped expectations and said deliveries of its luxury Model S electric sedan would surge more than 55 percent this year. In late morning trade the shares were up 8.5 percent at $210.15.

The dollar strengthened on the manufacturing report. The dollar index rose 0.19 percent to 80.299, while against the Japanese yen the dollar traded near break-even to slightly higher. It was last at 102.32 yen.

The euro fell as low as $1.3688, pulling away further from a seven-week high of $1.37735 struck on Wednesday. It last traded down 0.13 percent at $1.3714.

U.S. Treasuries prices fell as the mostly positive economic data met expectations.

Benchmark 10-year note yields reached session highs of 2.75 percent following the manufacturing data. The 10-year notes fell 8/32 in price to yield 2.7626 percent.

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