(Changes "stop tapering" to "start tapering' in fifth
* Stocks gain after Fed chief nominee backs monetary
* Euro zone growth slowdown adds to ECB policy hopes
* Yen slides as dovish Yellen comments hurt safe-haven
* Yen hits 2-month low versus dollar
By Ellen Freilich
NEW YORK, Nov 15 Global equity markets rose on
Friday after President Obama's choice to lead the Federal
Reserve signaled the U.S. central bank's stimulative monetary
policy would stay in place for some time, while the dollar rose
to a two-month high against the yen.
Janet Yellen's 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, now 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.
"At least for now the Fed does not regard the impact of its
bond purchases on asset prices as a reason to start tapering.
There will be an analysis of economic conditions. That's
important information," he said.
U.S. stocks rose, with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting intraday
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 62.74 points,
or 0.40 percent, at 15,938.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 4.28 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,794.90. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 8.64 points, or 0.22
percent, at 3,981.38.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
down 4/32, the yield at 2.7141 percent.
The dollar rose 0.23 percent to 100.26 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.
China on Friday 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 80.858.
"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 0.42 percent at $0.9364, while the New Zealand dollar
rose 0.65 percent to $0.8328.
The euro was up 0.19 percent at $1.3485, 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 0.56 percent,
while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of
leading regional shares gained 0.28 percent to close at
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 January delivery LCOc1 was last up 10 cents at
$108.38 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 was up 12 cents at
$93.88. Spot gold XAU= was at $1,287.41 an ounce, well above the
week's trough of $1,260.89.
(Additional reporting by Nick Olivari and Richard Leong in New
York; Editing by Dan Grebler)