* Dollar up on Italy deadlock and ahead of U.S. spending
* European shares gain on confidence in central bank support
* U.S. factory, jobless claims help lift sentiment
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, Feb 28 Global equity markets and crude
oil rose on Wednesday, pulled higher by encouraging U.S.
economic data and renewed confidence that major central banks
will keep taking steps to support the global economy.
Wall Street opened mostly higher, following gains in
European stocks as fresh signs of central bank support led to a
recovery of losses caused by Italy's post-election political
Strong domestic demand for Italian debt on Wednesday reduced
worries about the deadlock and helped boost the appetite for
riskier assets such stocks, oil and other commodities.
The pace of business activity in the U.S. Midwest rose to
its highest in nearly a year in February as new orders
increased, while a drop in new claims for unemployment benefits
last week added recent data suggesting an improving economy.
The U.S. Commerce Department said gross domestic product
rose 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, up from a previous
reading showing a contraction, but less than a 0.5 percent gain
forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.
"The jobless claims continue to show further signs of
improvement in the labor market. It's encouraging," said Andrew
Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. LLC
in New York.
Wilkinson said the GDP report was largely history, and that
the data was unlikely to impact investor sentiment.
"We knew that it was a bad quarter and we knew that there
was a confluence of negative inputs such as from government
inventories. We don't expect this to continue in 2013," he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 11.07 points,
or 0.08 percent, at 14,086.44. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 2.73 points, or 0.18 percent, at 1,518.72. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 12.24 points, or 0.39
percent, at 3,174.49.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading
regional shares was up by 0.7 percent at 1,168.90.
MSCI's all-country world equity index rose
0.49 percent to 354.56.
In oil markets, Brent crude for April delivery
gained 57 cents to $112.44 a barrel.
U.S. oil slid 5 cents to $92.71 a barrel.
The dollar rose against the euro and yen as investors
embraced its safety against the backdrop of the Italian
stalemate and less than 24 hours before automatic spending cuts
are enacted in the United States.
While month-end flows should translate into choppy flows
during the session, the euro's upside is seen as limited by
concerns political instability will stall Italian economic
reforms and reignite the euro zone debt crisis.
The euro last traded at $1.3088, down 0.38 percent on
U.S. Treasuries rose as the potentially growth-damping
impact of prospective U.S. government spending cuts fed the bid
for safe-haven U.S. debt.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up
4/32 in price to yield 1.8859 percent.