* Stocks, oil, gold up after Fed chief nominee backs
* Euro zone growth slowdown adds to ECB policy hopes
* Yen slides as dovish Yellen comments boost riskier assets
* Yen hits 2-month low versus dollar
By Ellen Freilich
NEW YORK, Nov 15 Global equity markets rose on
Friday after Janet Yellen, President Obama's choice to lead the
Federal Reserve, signaled the U.S. central bank's stimulative
monetary policy would remain in place for some time, while the
dollar rose to a two-month high against the yen.
Comments interpreted as showing there would be no cut in
monetary stimulus any time soon sparked a rally on equity
markets and dented the low-yielding yen, which typically falls
when investors are looking to take on risk.
Yellen, currently the Fed's vice chair, defended the U.S.
central bank's steps to spur economic growth and called efforts
to boost hiring "imperative" during a hearing on Thursday on her
nomination before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.
"There's a sincere expectation that monetary policy will be
calibrated according to economic conditions," said Jeff Knight,
head of global asset allocations at Boston-based Columbia
Management, with $345 billion in assets under management.
U.S. stocks rose, with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting intraday
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 52.08 points,
or 0.33 percent, at 15,928.30. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 3.54 points, or 0.20 percent, at 1,794.16. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 5.58 points, or 0.14
percent, at 3,978.32.
U.S. Treasuries slipped as investors chose riskier assets,
though the losses were modest. The benchmark 10-year U.S.
Treasury note was down 3/32, the yield at 2.7105
The dollar rose 0.2 percent to 100.25 yen, having hit
a high of 100.43 yen that left it the potential to target the
Sept. 11 high of 100.60 yen.
The yen fell broadly, with sterling hitting a four-year high
against the Japanese currency.
On Friday China announced a raft of reform plans, including
accelerating capital account convertibility, but this had little
impact on sentiment.
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar eased
marginally to 80.959.
"The dollar only reacted very moderately as Yellen signaled
continuity," said George Saravelos, currency strategist at
Deutsche Bank in London.
However, he said her remarks were enough to spark a rally in
riskier assets and weigh on the yen.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars, which offer higher
yields than many other currencies and often gain when investor
risk appetite increases, both rose. The Australian dollar
was up 0.58 percent at $0.9370, while the New Zealand dollar
rose 0.5 percent to $0.8319 cent.
The euro was up 0.0022 percent at $1.3489, below a
one-week high of $1.3497 touched on Thursday.
It remains under pressure from the disparity between the
U.S. and European economies - underlined by weak euro zone GDP
numbers on Thursday, which kept alive the possibility of more
central bank action to stimulate growth.
The euro rose against the yen, however, hitting a two-week
high of 135.08 yen.
An index of world equity markets marched
higher after Yellen told the confirmation hearing that efforts
to boost hiring were "imperative" for promoting a strong U.S.
MSCI's all-country world stock index rose 0.5 percent, while
the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading
regional shares gained 0.23 percent to close at 1,297.34.
Japanese equities, made cheap for foreign investors
by a falling yen, led the charge, jumping 1.95 percent to bring
gains for the week to a heady 7.65 percent, the Nikkei index's
biggest weekly rise since December 2009.
In commodity markets, Brent crude rose above $108 a barrel,
headed for its biggest weekly gain since late August on
expectations the Fed would stick with its easy money policy.
Brent for December delivery was last up 0.18 cents
at $108.10 a barrel, while U.S. crude was up $0.6 at
$93.82. Spot gold was at $1,287.70 an ounce, well above
the week's trough of $1,260.89.