GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks rise on solid earnings; safe-haven bonds gain

Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:43am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct, most national markets up

* Political tensions keep bonds, euro trading cautiously

* Euro hits 8-month lows against dollar, bund yields fall

* Crude prices gain despite stronger dollar (Adds opening of U.S. markets, byline, dateline; previous LONDON)

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, July 23 (Reuters) - Global equity markets edged higher on Wednesday as a backdrop of solid corporate earnings buoyed risk appetite, but worries over the Middle East and Ukraine kept demand strong for safe-haven assets such as bonds.

Shares in Europe and emerging markets, and most of Wall Street also rose, with the benchmark S&P 500 setting a new intraday record for a second day as results continued to beat expectations.

Of the 149 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results, 68.5 percent have beat expectations, slightly better than the past four quarters and five percentage points above the 20-year average of 63 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"The bottom line is investors have moved away, for now, from the big political stories and are refocused on earnings, which in general have been good," said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"There's just not a lot of bad news out there when it comes to corporate earnings," he said.

MSCI's all-country world index rose 0.26 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.12 percent to 1,375.43.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 15.29 points, or 0.09 percent, to 17,098.25. The S&P 500 gained 4.52 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1,988.05 and the Nasdaq Composite added 18.628 points, or 0.42 percent, to 4,474.644.

The prospect of more sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis and a downed Malaysian airliner kept risk aversion on the table in the bond market, where German 10-year yields nudged down to 1.148 percent, just shy of record lows.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries were up 1/32 in price to yield 2.4601 percent.

The euro was 0.03 percent higher at $1.3468, while the dollar was 0.05 percent higher against the Japanese yen at 101.51.

Brent crude for September delivery was up 66 cents at $107.99 a barrel. U.S. crude for September delivery was 83 cents higher at $103.22 a barrel.

(Additional reporting by Lionel Laurent in London, reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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