U.S. falls after Yellen comments, ECB lifts Europe

NEW YORK Thu May 8, 2014 4:19pm EDT

1 of 6. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 11, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock markets around the world mostly rose on Thursday, gaining on positive comments from central banks, though U.S. shares ended flat as an early rally faded.

European shares .FTEU3 climbed 1.1 percent after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was seen as opening the door to more stimulus measures in June.

The ECB stance pushed the euro down 0.4 percent against the dollar. It previously rose to its highest level since November 2011.

In the United States, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, speaking to the Senate Budget Committee, repeated a statement she made on Wednesday that she expects improved year-over-year growth, though weakness in the housing sector could undermine that forecast.

Her comments were seen as indicating continued support for the economy, and U.S. shares rose for much of the session, though they turned lower in the afternoon after nearing record levels.

"We got right to resistance, we challenged it, but had no momentum to get through," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York. "There was no surprise from Yellen, the ECB could have helped the market but that hasn't happened; there's just not enough momentum."

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI ended up 32.43 points, or 0.20 percent, at 16,550.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 2.58 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,875.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 16.18 points, or 0.40 percent, at 4,051.50.

The MSCI International ACWI Price Index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.2 percent.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was up 2/32, with the yield at 2.6125 percent. The U.S. dollar index .DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose 0.3 percent and the greenback rose 0.3 percent against the yen.

The tense situation in the Ukraine weighed as pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine ignored a public call by Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone a referendum on self-rule, declaring they would go ahead on Sunday with a vote that could lead to war.

Gold, viewed as a safe-haven asset, was flat on the day after dropping more than 1.5 percent over the previous two sessions. Copper rose 1.1 percent after trading flat for much of the session.

In Asia, China's exports and imports returned to slight growth in April after a surprise fall in March, offering signs that Beijing's use of targeted policy measures to underpin growth may be starting to stabilize the economy.

U.S. crude futures fell 0.5 percent and Brent crude was off 0.1 percent. Traders continued to watch the situation in Ukraine, as well as Chinese crude imports, which jumped to a record high.

(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Dan Grebler)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
JohnMorty wrote:
US has already lost its opportunities to set military bases in Ukraine. So we have to wait a WAR in Europe! Like Yugoslavia… They need a springboard against Russia.

May 09, 2014 9:45am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

How to get out of debt

Financial adviser Eric Brotman offers strategies for cutting debt from student loans and elder care -- and how to avoid money woes in the first place.  Video