(Updates to mid-afternoon activity)
* Wall Street rallies, S&P 500 cuts losses for the week
* Brent crude up on week on U.S. data, supply concerns
* Gold at six-week low as U.S. economic picks up
* Dollar edges higher vs yen; euro up before ECB meeting
* Intermediate-dated U.S. Treasuries near 2-month high
By Herbert Lash and Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, March 28 Global equity markets rose on
Friday, bolstered by U.S. economic data that was largely
promising and signs that China will step in to support a cooling
economy, while euro zone government bond yields fell on renewed
bets the European Central Bank will ease policy next week.
The price of Brent crude oil was flat, near $108 a barrel,
heading for the first weekly rise in five, helped by data
showing a rise in U.S. consumer spending in February.
Gold fell to six-week lows under $1,300 an ounce and was on
track for a second straight weekly decline as the U.S. economic
outlook lifted the dollar and bolstered risk appetite.
Yields on intermediate-dated U.S. Treasury notes neared
two-month highs. Analysts and traders expected such debt to
continue underperforming longer-term bonds after Federal Reserve
Chair Janet Yellen's indication last week that U.S. interest
rates could be hiked by spring 2015.
On Wall Street, all 10 major S&P 500 sectors gained in a
broad rally after two days of losses.
Among the indexes, the Dow turned positive for the week and
the S&P sharply cut weekly losses to show a gain for 2014. But
the Nasdaq remained on track for a negative week after heavy
profit-taking on some of the market's biggest outperformers.
"We are seeing a good rebound today, but there are still a
lot of factors that indicate we could be going into a more
sizeable correction," said Randy Frederick, managing director of
trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial
Research in Austin, Texas.
"Almost everyday this week we've been seeing a pattern of
the market opening higher and then selling off towards the
close. Some are saying that it's the smart money is selling off
at the end of the day. If we see that pattern again today, that
would be concerning."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 105.58
points, or 0.65 percent, at 16,369.81. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 13.07 points, or 0.71 percent, at 1,862.11.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 29.53 points, or 0.71
percent, at 4,180.76.
For the week, the Dow was up 0.6 percent; the S&P slipped
0.1 percent, and the Nasdaq was down 2 percent.
U.S. consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in February,
matching economists' expectations, the Commerce Department said,
after gaining 0.2 percent in January.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer
sentiment index dipped to 80.0 this month from 81.6 in February,
a decline that did not faze investors. The index was little
changed from earlier in March.
Equity markets were mostly bolstered by Premier Li Keqiang's
comments that China had the necessary policies in place and
would push ahead with infrastructure investment to shore up
"This could avert a slowdown in China, and any stimulus that
helps growth somewhere should help growth globally," said Jack
Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.
MSCI's all-country world index rose 0.7
percent, and the FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of regional
European shares was up 0.7 percent at 1331.67 points for its
fourth straight day of gains.
Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Irish bond yields fell to
new historical lows as an unexpected drop in Spanish inflation
bolstered expectations the ECB could ease monetary policy
Data showed that Spanish consumer prices fell 0.2 percent
year-on-year in March, compared with a previous reading of 0.0
percent and a Reuters poll forecast of a 0.1 percent rise.
Italy's cost of borrowing over 10 years fell to its lowest
level since October 2005 at a Friday auction.
That led to expectations that inflation for the whole euro
zone, due on Monday, could fall below the 0.6 percent Reuters
consensus. The ECB's target is just below 2.0 percent.
The euro fell to a three-week low against the dollar, with
investors mindful of strong rhetoric from ECB officials about
the currency's recent strength, but the euro later recovered on
uncertainty over whether the bank will take action.
The euro has sagged since suggestions of more ECB action
this week from Germany - whose policymakers have in the past
repeatedly voiced concerns about unorthodox monetary easing.
The single currency was slightly higher on the day at
$1.3751, having dipped to $1.3707 earlier.
The U.S. dollar rose 0.7 percent against the yen, to 102.87
yen, buoyed in part by expectations that the Federal
Reserve may start to tighten policy in the early part of next
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 14/32, its
yield at 2.7226 percent.
Brent oil rose 0.2 percent on the day and 1 percent
on the week, trading at above $108 a barrel. U.S. crude
hovered at below $102 a barrel, up 0.6 percent for the session
and 2.4 percent higher on the week.
The spot price of gold was up 0.2 percent on the day
at $1,292.81 an ounce. For the week, though, it was down 3
(Reporting by Herbert Lash and Barani Krishnan; Additional
reporting by Jamie McGeever in London; Editing by Chris Reese
and Leslie Adler)