* World share markets gain for a 5th day on central bank
* Dollar pares losses vs euro, yen after U.S. data
* U.S. Treasury bonds fall on encouraging U.S. jobless
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, April 25 World equity markets rose and
bond prices fell on Thursday as data indicated the U.S. labor
market remains resilient despite recent signs of slower growth,
while earnings that are beating lowered expectations helped buoy
Wall Street opened higher, following gains in Europe, where
markets were lifted on growing expectations the European Central
Bank will soon cut interest rates.
A report from the U.S. Labor Department said the number of
Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last
week by a surprisingly large 16,000.
The report appeared to counter several weeks of signs that
U.S. economic activity softened in March and early April, a
phenomenon that economists have dubbed the spring swoon because
it has happened the past two years.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell as
much as 7/32 in price in reaction to the jobless claims figures.
They last traded 3/32 lower to yield 1.7114 percent.
Recent weak global economic data, including record-high
jobless figures from Spain on Thursday, has sparked expectations
of more stimulus from central banks.
"Overall, investors see the potential for new measures and
the distortion of global valuations as a reason to hold
dogmatically onto their equities," said Guy Foster, head of
portfolio strategy at Brewin Dolphin in London.
"Shares are seen as a yield asset class with risks skewed to
the upside. Bonds have lost their appeal for the opposite
U.S. stocks rose, boosted by gains in shares of materials
companies, including iron ore producer Cliffs Natural Resources
Cliffs jumped 17.78 percent to $21.46 after it posted
earnings late on Wednesday that were much better than analysts
had estimated. The S&P 500 materials index
rose 1.4 percent.
The blended per-share growth estimate for earnings is now
3.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters, up from 1.5 percent
on April 1. The estimate is about half of recent quarters.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 15.36 points,
or 0.10 percent, at 14,691.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 5.39 points, or 0.34 percent, at 1,584.18. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 19.42 points, or 0.59
percent, at 3,289.07.
"Investors coming into this earnings season were quite
fearful, so even modestly positive news becomes great news and
that is what we've experienced for the last several days," said
Lawrence Creatura, an equity portfolio manager at Federated
Investors in Rochester, New York.
"It's probably a little early in the earnings season to talk
about aggregate results but it's important to recognize that
earnings are growing and so higher prices are deserved,"
Expectations of an ECB rate cut boosted shares and kept the
euro near a three-week low to the dollar. Sources involved in
the deliberations have told Reuters that momentum is building
for monetary action to help the recession-hit euro zone.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 index index of top European
shares rose 0.74 percent to close at a 1,200.64, near its peak
of 1,209.05 it hit in mid-March.
MSCI's all-country world equity index gained
0.62 percent to a 365.19.
The dollar rose against the euro as the U.S. labor market
report allayed concerns about the pace of the economic recovery,
with many analysts expecting the greenback to continue to gain.
The euro last traded at $1.3005, down 0.08 percent.
Against the yen, the dollar last traded at 99.31 yen,
down 0.16 percent on the day.
Sterling jumped to a two-month high against the dollar and a
three-month peak against the euro after data showed the UK
economy comfortably avoided slipping back into recession in the
UK gross domestic product rose 0.3 percent in the three
months to March, well above forecasts of a 0.1 percent rise, as
the economy bounced back after shrinking 0.3 percent at the end
Brent crude oil prices held above $102 a barrel, underpinned
by a weaker dollar, while U.S. crude's discount to Brent fell
below $10 for the first time since June 2012.
Brent crude rose $1.68 to settle at $103.41 a
U.S. crude settled $2.21 higher at $93.64 a barrel.