* Equities rise after encouraging U.S. labor market report
* Euro rises after ECB president gives no hint of further
* Brent oil rebounds after U.S. economic data
* Bonds slip as safe-haven appeal recedes
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, March 7 Global equity markets rose on
Thursday after an encouraging U.S. weekly labor market report
suggested a steadily improving economy, while the euro
strengthened after the European Central Bank left its benchmark
interest rate unchanged.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment
benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a pick-up in
the labor market recovery and economic growth.
Equities on Wall Street rose on the labor report, but
European shares pared their gains when ECB President Mario
Draghi was non-committal as to whether he felt equity markets
were fairly priced at current lofty levels.
The euro rallied about 1 percent as Draghi gave no hints of
further easing in euro zone interest rates after the ECB left
its benchmark rate unchanged.
A growing minority of respondents in a Reuters poll - 22 out
of 76 - expect the ECB to eventually cut its main refinancing
rate to a record low of 0.5 percent from the current 0.75
The Dow hit an intraday record for the third session in a
row, climbing as high as 14,354.69 after initially breaking into
uncharted territory on Tuesday. The broader S&P 500 remains more
than 1 percent below its record close set in October 2007.
The number of Americans filing initial claims for those
benefits unexpectedly fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last
week, suggesting an improving labor market.
"It's certainly welcoming to the market and it's once again
supporting the thought that the economic recovery is
strengthening despite the stalemate in budget talks, etc," said
Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak &
Co. LLC in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 47.78 points,
or 0.33 percent, at 14,344.02. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 3.66 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,545.12. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10.99 points, or 0.34
percent, at 3,233.36.
The equity rally's sharp advance has raised concerns on both
sides of the Atlantic. The Dow is up more than 9 percent so far
"Equity markets have had a pretty significant advance over
the past several months since bottoming in November. Despite
generally positive market internals, there's some worry about
jumping into the market at these levels," said Michael Sheldon,
chief market strategist, RDM Financial, Westport, Connecticut.
European shares ended slightly lower on Thursday, held back
by a post-results slump for British insurer Aviva, and
some said they expected the pullback to continue in the short
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional
shares, provisionally closed down 0.1 percent at 1,185.26 after
hitting a 4-1/2-year intraday high on Wednesday,
Five leading stock indices, for Britain, Germany, France,
Italy and Spain, all ended the day higher.
MSCI's all-country world stock index eased
from a new intraday high for the year of 359.47, to be up 0.13
percent on the day.
The euro was up 1.1 percent at $1.3107 after hitting
a session peak of $1.3116, a five-day high.
The ECB and the Bank of England kept interest rates on hold,
Prices for U.S. Treasuries slid as a second straight day of
better-than-expected labor market data boosted appetite for
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes fell 13/32 in
price to yield 1.98 percent.
Oil hovered near break-even at about $111 a barrel as the
ECB gave no strong hint about monetary policy easing in the
months ahead and on the better-than-expected U.S. jobs data.
Brent crude fell 21 cents at $110.85 a barrel. U.S.
WTI crude futures rose 68 cents to $91.11.