4 Min Read
* Wall Street gains on latest round of upbeat U.S. data
* Oil gains on U.S. data,
* Euro rises but vulnerable as Cyprus concerns persist
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - Global equity markets rose as safe-haven assets like debt and gold fell on Tuesday after more data pointed to an improving U.S. economy and helped offset any fallout from the Cyprus bailout.
Wall Street opened higher on reports that showed demand for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods surged in February while U.S. single-family home prices started the year with the biggest annual increase since June 2006.
But a report from the Conference Board, an industry group, showing Americans in March turned more pessimistic about short term prospects, causing consumer confidence to tumble, added a note of caution to a market still skittish over Cyprus.
Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut, said investors needed to see further improvement in the economic data for equity markets to hold this year's gains.
The euro edged higher against the U.S. dollar but remained near four-month lows on lingering concerns about the negative implications of a rescue plan for Cyprus, and if it would serve as a template for other euro zone economies requiring bailouts.
"There's uncertainty in Europe as for what is the blueprint when (economies) need to be rescued," said Sheldon. "The market trend continues to be higher but investors are gun-shy in light of recent gains."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 85.54 points, or 0.59 percent, at 14,533.29. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.15 points, or 0.46 percent, at 1,558.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.63 points, or 0.30 percent, at 3,244.93.
MSCI's all-country world index, which tracks 6000 stocks in 45 countries, rose 0.31 percent to 358.91.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 of leading regional shares rose 0.12 percent to 1,187.87.
Crude oil also rose, lifted by the strong U.S. housing data, although Brent later pared some of its gains to trade near break-even.
Brent crude futures was down 3 cents at $108.14 a barrel, in the middle of the $107 to $109 range of the past two weeks.
U.S. crude gained 69 cents to $95.50 a barrel.
"Solid housing data showing rising home prices pointed to a U.S. economy that continues to rebound, helping boost U.S. crude," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
The euro nudged higher against the dollar after recently hitting a four-month low, but further gains may prove fleeting given concerns that uninsured depositors could be forced to contribute to a Cyprus-like rescue in future bailouts.
Political uncertainty in Italy and a diverging economic backdrop with the U.S. should also contain the single currencies' upside, with a bleak outlook in the euro zone starkly contrasting with an improving U.S. landscape.
The euro last traded at $1.2868, up 0.1 percent on the day, but not far from Monday's low of $1.2829, its lowest since Nov. 22.
U.S. government debt was lower. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 2/32 in price to yield 1.925 percent.