GLOBAL MARKETS-Stock indexes, euro inch up on euro zone data, U.S. earnings

Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:16am EDT

* U.S. stocks edge up; Facebook earnings a positive

* Russian debt insurance costs rise on EU sanctions

* Emerging-market stocks at 17-month highs after China PMI (Updates with U.S. markets opening, changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters) - Major global stock markets edged higher while the euro rose from an eight-month low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday following upbeat euro zone data and stronger-than-expected U.S. earnings.

The S&P 500 was barely higher as data showing sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell by the biggest amount since July 2013 offset profit news from companies including Facebook .

Facebook's shares were up 5.4 percent at $75.14 and hit a record high of $76.74 in early trading, a day after reporting a surge in mobile advertising revenue.

Russian debt insurance costs rose after European Union leaders proposed sanctions on Russian banks which are majority-owned by the government. Those measures were proposed after a Malaysian Airlines plane was downed over Ukraine last week, killing 298, possibly by a missile furnished by Russia.

Data showed the services sector across the 18-member euro zone performed better than any of the 39 economists polled by Reuters had forecast. Manufacturers also reported a stronger month than the median Reuters forecast had predicted.

More EU sanctions are likely to weigh on a fragile recovery and stoked bets of even looser monetary policy from the European Central Bank. The ECB cut interest rates in June and left the door open to further monetary loosening, which would hurt the euro.

The latest euro zone business data are "a marginal positive, but I don't think the ECB will change its view on a modest recovery," said Brian Dangerfield, currency strategist at RBS Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.

MSCI's All-World Index was up 0.1 percent, while European stocks .FTEU3 were up 0.2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11.75 points or 0.07 percent, to 17,098.38, the S&P 500 gained 1.47 points or 0.07 percent, to 1,988.48 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.69 points or 0.08 percent, to 4,470.01.

A better-than-expected U.S. earnings season is helping sentiment. So far this earnings period, 68.5 percent of earnings reports are beating analysts' expectations, above the 63 percent average since 1994, Thomson Reuters data showed.

On Thursday, drugmakers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly both beat Wall Street expectations, helped by cost controls.

Emerging-market stocks, last up 0.2 percent, hit 17-month highs after stronger-than-expected HSBC flash PMI data for China, the world's second-largest economy.

In the foreign exchange market, the euro fell to an eight-month low of $1.3448 in early European trading on the EBS trading system before rebounding to a session high of $1.34855 after the euro zone 'flash' composite survey was released, showing the index at a three-month high in July.

The single currency was last $1.3471, up 0.05 percent from Wednesday's U.S. close.

U.S. Treasury debt prices fell after data showing initial jobless claims in the world's largest economy dropped to their lowest in more than eight years.

But losses may be limited by safe-haven buying with tensions still high in the Middle East and Ukraine.

Russia's five-year credit default swaps rose 17 basis points to 214 bps from earlier on Thursday, according to Markit, following the EU sanctions proposals, which the EU said were likely to be adopted next week.

That means it costs $214,000 a year for five years to insure $10 million of Russian debt against default. Russian government bonds fell.

Ten-year U.S. Treasuries were down 13/32 in price to yield 2.508 percent. The yield hit a peak of 2.518 percent, the highest since July 18.

Crude oil prices ran into renewed selling after a bounce on Wednesday. Brent crude for September delivery fell 66 cents to $107.37 a barrel. U.S. crude lost 48 cents to $102.64. (Additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn, Marc Jones and Anirban Nag in London, Wayne Cole in Sydney; and Richard Leong in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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