GLOBAL MARKETS-World share markets up on ECB hopes; gold at 1-month low

Tue May 27, 2014 11:03am EDT

* Wall St up, S&P 500 hits record as utility stocks lead

* U.S. Treasury prices inch lower after upbeat U.S. economic data

* Euro under pressure on bets ECB will ease further (Adds opening of Wall Street, changes dateline; previous LONDON)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, May 27 (Reuters) - World share markets climbed closer to record levels on Tuesday on expectations the European Central Bank will extend its easy monetary policy, while gold slipped to a one-month low following upbeat U.S. economic data.

Wall Street's S&P 500 hit a record high, led by gains in utility stocks as data showed orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly rose in April.

U.S. markets were also catching up to the ECB news after markets were closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

ECB chief Mario Draghi on Monday bolstered views that the bank will cut euro zone interest rates again next week. Other policymakers drove home the message on Tuesday.

The ECB has discussed "a situation where inflation rates are so low that there is a danger of economic growth being held back," Austrian ECB board member Ewald Nowotny said. "We will discuss which measures we can take here."

"June has been signaled as the point in time when Draghi has to do something," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York. "We've had some false starts with the ECB and we hope this is not another one."

The day's gains helped MSCI's all-world share index move closer to its 2007 record high. The index was up 0.55 percent.

Leading European markets higher, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent as a flurry of merger activity provided additional support. Intercontinental Hotels Group, buoyed by British media reports of bid interest from the United States, jumped 4.5 percent and was the top performer on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, which was up 0.2 percent.

However, investors kept a wary eye on Ukraine, which launched air strikes and a paratrooper assault against pro-Russian rebels who seized an airport on Monday.

The escalation was tempered by a decisive win for billionaire Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine's weekend presidential election, which many hope will stabilize the situation.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 78.18 points, or 0.47 percent, at 16,684.45. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 10.56 points, or 0.56 percent, at 1,911.09. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 41.22 points, or 0.98 percent, at 4,227.03.

As stocks strengthened, U.S. Treasuries added to losses and gold tumbled.

In mid-morning trading, 30-year Treasury bonds were down 2/32 in price to yield 3.400 percent, compared with 3.397 percent on Friday. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes were down 2/32 in price to yield 2.5392 percent, from 2.535 percent late on Friday.

In commodities trading, U.S. light crude oil was down 20 cents at $104.15 while Brent was flat at $110.31. Spot gold was roughly $24 an ounce lower at $1,268.75.

The likelihood of lower rates helped euro zone bonds from Germany to Italy, Spain and Greece. The euro came under pressure again as it dipped to $1.3625.

Interest rates on benchmark 10-year German Bunds hovered at 1.358 percent. Italian bonds consolidated gains from Monday after Italy's government scored a surprisingly easy win in European Parliament elections over the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

As well as a rate cut, the ECB is preparing a package of other easing measures, Reuters reported earlier this month. They include charging banks a penalty if they hoard cash and targeted measures aimed at boosting lending to smaller firms. (Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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