GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks rise on upbeat U.S. data, euro falls

Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:40am EDT

* Robust U.S. retail data rekindle some bids for stocks
    * Ukraine's ultimatum to separatists saps risk appetite
earlier
    * Euro undermined by ECB officials' talk of more easing
    * Japan's Nikkei marks fresh 6-month closing low

 (Updates market action, adds quote)
    By Marc Jones
    LONDON, April 14 (Reuters) - Global equities rose on Monday
on robust U.S. retail sales data, rebounding from last week's
steep decline, while the euro fell, prompted by the European
Central Bank's strongest signal yet that it would ease policy to
cool the single currency.
    Encouraging news from the world's biggest economy, which was
bogged down by a harsh winter, overrode fears of a military
conflict in Ukraine which had punished stock prices earlier.
    Ukraine's president threatened military action after
pro-Russian separatists occupying government buildings in the
east ignored an ultimatum to leave and another group of rebels
attacked a police headquarters in the region. 
    "This is the first report that activity is bouncing back
from the winter weather," said Craig Dismuke, chief economic
strategist at Vining Sparks in Memphis, Tennessee said of the
March figure on U.S. retail sales, which jumped 1.1 percent, the
biggest monthly rise in 1-1/2 years. 
    "This should set the foundation for stocks to go up a bit
and bond yields to go higher," Dismuke said.
    On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose
76.49 points or 0.48 percent, to 16,103.24, the S&P 500 
gained 9.54 points or 0.53 percent, to 1,825.23 and the Nasdaq
Composite added 16.438 points or 0.41 percent, to
4,016.172.
    The MSCI world equity index, which tracks
shares in 45 nations, held steady at 404.40 points, erasing an
earlier loss of 0.3 percent.
    A flurry of M&A activity, including a $6 billion copper mine
sale by Glencore Xstrata, helped cushion the falls,
which were driven by a 0.6 percent decline in the Dax.
German-listed firms have some of the biggest links to Russia.
    Russian shares tumbled 1.31 percent, while the rouble
fell 0.8 percent to its weakest level against the dollar 
in nearly three weeks 
    European Union foreign ministers were to hold talks later on
Monday about tougher sanctions against Russia. 
The worry for many is that the two sides end up imposing
increasingly tough measures that will inevitably harm both.     
    "The escalation sharply increases risks of an all-out civil
war in Ukraine," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said in
a research note.  
    Earlier, Japan's Nikkei stock average ended down 0.4
percent at a fresh six-month closing low. It plunged 7.3 percent
last week, its biggest weekly fall since the devastating
earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.      
  
    EURO FALLS
    More promises from the ECB over the weekend that it will
take action to head off further gains in the euro pulled the
shared currency back to $1.3817 from Friday's high of $1.3905.
 
    It fell 0.4 percent to 140.55 yen, near the low
end of its trading range since early March.    
    "The strengthening of the exchange rate would require
further monetary policy accommodation," ECB head Mario Draghi
said at a meeting of the International Monetary
Fund.
    Benoit Coeure, another top ECB member, also laid out some
asset-buying options, a tactic which appears to be finally
gaining traction at the central bank. 
    The dollar gained against most major currencies on the
strong March retail sales report. It nudged up nearly 0.2
percent to 101.74 yen after touching a 3-1/2-week low of
101.32 yen on Friday, but that was far from the 2-1/2-month high
of 104.13 yen set on April 4.
    Among commodities, spot gold benefited from the move
toward safe-haven assets, adding about 0.6 percent to $1,325.30
an ounce, after earlier marking a new three-week high. 
    Oil prices were underpinned by fears that the tension
between Russia and Ukraine could escalate. Ukraine is a major
supply route for Russian gas to Europe. 
    Brent crude for May delivery was last up $0.57, or
up 0.53 percent, at $107.9 a barrel, while U.S. spot crude
 was last up $0.03, or up 0.03 percent, at $103.77 per
barrel. 

 (Additional reporting by Marc Jones and Marius Zaharia in
London; Megan Davies in Moscow; Editing by John Stonestreet and
Jonathan Oatis)
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