* Chinese stocks cap gains in global equities
* U.S. crude briefly dips below $90 for first time this year
* Euro near recent lows as talk of rate cut gains strength
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 4 U.S. stocks rebounded late in
the day on Monday to close higher, boosting a gauge of global
equities, while crude oil prices were pressured by indicators
that oil markets are amply supplied.
World shares as measured by the MSCI index ended little
changed, stung by declines in Chinese indexes after weak
manufacturing and services sectors data added to concern about
slower growth in China, the world's second-largest economy.
Plans in China to tighten the housing market via higher down
payments and loan rates for buyers of second homes in cities
where prices are rising too quickly added to worries about the
Growth concerns prompted initial caution on Wall Street, but
investors took advantage of the decline to jump in, even though
indexes hover near historic or multi-year highs.
"There are a lot of worries out there, but also a lot of
positive momentum. Stocks remain the only game in town if you
want yield," said Randy Bateman, chief investment officer of
Huntington Asset Management in Columbus, Ohio, who helps oversee
"So many people think we're overextended that a pullback
could happen at any time, but there are also so many people
reentering the market on dips that I wouldn't be surprised to
see a new high on the Dow sometime this month."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30.28 points or
0.21 percent, to 14,119.94, the S&P 500 gained 5.24
points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,523.4,4 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 8.5 points, or 0.27 percent, to 3,178.24.
The blue-chip Dow index is 0.32 percent away from closing at
a record high.
MSCI's world equity index edged up 0.1
percent. European shares closed down 0.02 percent at
1,168.36 even as mining stocks posted a 2.1 percent
A lack of progress in talks to form a new Italian government
after last week's inconclusive elections weighed most on the
country's stocks, down 0.85 percent, while 10-year bond
yields rose to 4.881 percent after hitting more
than 5 percent earlier in the session.
Analysts said yields could have climbed higher if it wasn't
for the ECB's promise to support struggling nations, but doubts
remained over how this could be implemented without a government
able to enact tough reforms.
The euro hovered near recent lows against the U.S. dollar,
pressured by the political uncertainty in Italy and expectations
the ECB will cut interest rates sooner than previously
The euro zone common currency was flat at $1.3020,
not far from Friday's 11-week low of $1.2965.
"There's growing speculation that the (ECB) will show a
greater willingness to push the benchmark interest rate to a
fresh record low," said David Song, currency analyst at DailyFX
in New York.
"The fundamental developments coming out of the euro area
may continue to drag on the exchange rate should it highlight a
weakening outlook for growth and inflation," Song said.
U.S. Treasury debt prices dipped further as stocks gained.
Treasuries could likely stay range-bound for much of the
week as markets await an ECB policy meeting on Thursday and key
U.S. jobs data on Friday.
"The market's a bit expensive to really go 'gung-ho' and buy
at this point even though there's a lot of risk," said Kim
Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at
Action Economics LLC in San Francisco.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 10/32 in
price to yield 1.8772 percent, after the yield hit a near
six-week low of 1.8270.
Concern about China's growth, alongside expectations of even
slower growth in the United States, weighed on crude oil prices.
"Economic sentiment has shifted, and we're also seeing the
first stages of long liquidation in the oil market. Money
managers had increased their exposure (to oil) a lot over a
10-week period," said energy analyst Tim Evans at Citi Futures
in New York.
The International Monetary Fund said U.S. spending cuts that
were triggered last Friday could cost the United States, the
world's biggest oil consumer, about 0.5 percent of its economic
growth, a factor that could weigh on global oil demand.
Total U.S. oil inventories are up 9 percent from year-ago
levels, and domestic oil and liquids production has risen by
around one-fifth due largely to a boom in shale drilling, Evans
added, citing the most recent data from the U.S. Energy
U.S. crude briefly traded below $90 a barrel for the first
time this year and settled at $90.12, down 0.6 percent. Brent
settled down 0.3 percent at $110.09 a barrel.