* European shares mixed, off highs; Germany gets data boost
* Ukraine tension, China growth outlook weigh on sentiment
* U.S. equities edge up, Treasuries ease
* Euro/dollar dips, yen firms as Bank of Japan stands pat
* Bunds edge up, gold and oil extend gains
By David Gaffen
NEW YORK, March 11 Major world equity markets
were mostly steady on Tuesday, the euro edged down and gold rose
as traders kept a wary eye on tensions between Ukraine and
Russia and the pace of growth in China.
Markets have taken a break from recent volatile trading, and
moves in most major stock markets were relatively muted. An
index of global stocks was trading around break
even, while the benchmark U.S. S&P 500 nudged higher.
"Market players remain cautious. There's a lack of
enthusiasm in chasing stocks, and some are just thinking about
moving to the sidelines after the roller-coaster ride we've had
since the start of the year," said Guillaume Dumans, co-head of
research firm 2Bremans.
The U.S. Treasury market was muted, with the 10-year yield
slightly higher to 2.80 percent, falling 5/32 in price. The
activity in credit markets was focused on the municipal sector,
where the island of Puerto Rico sold $3.5 billion in debt to
shore up its struggling finances. The bonds sold at an 8 percent
coupon with a yield of 8.727 percent, levels much less expensive
than expected in that market.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 37.28 points or
0.23 percent, to 16,455.96, the S&P 500 gained 4.84
points or 0.26 percent, to 1,882.01 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 19.418 points or 0.45 percent, to 4,353.866.
Economic figures were limited on Tuesday. A sharp fall in
wholesale sales surprised investors and led to a buildup in
inventories in January, particularly in autos and machinery
stocks. Wholesale inventories rose 0.6 percent. This is a
positive for first-quarter growth, though economists expect the
weak sales figure to be reversed.
The euro fell against the dollar and the yen on Tuesday
after European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Vitor
Constancio told investors that they may have missed the message
on policy that rates are set to remain accommodative for some
time to come.
Strong trade data from Germany, the region's economic
powerhouse, helped the country's DAX index outperform,
as it rose 0.9 percent.
"Recent events, especially concerning Russia and Turkey,
have made the outlook less certain, and their impact will only
be felt in a few months from now," said Markus Huber, a senior
sales trader at Peregrine & Black.
Tensions over Ukraine continued to build on Tuesday. With
diplomacy at a standstill, Ukraine's acting president announced
the formation of a volunteer national guard, while ousted leader
Viktor Yanukovich insisted he remained the country's legitimate
Turkish assets have been hit by political scandals and a
power struggle between Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and a
U.S.-based Muslim cleric.
Against a basket of currencies, the U.S. dollar edged
higher by late morning to trade up 0.01 percent.
Gold extended early gains as Ukraine strengthened the
bid in that market. The yellow metal was at $1,349 an ounce. In
a sign of the recent jump in demand, the world's biggest
bullion-backed exchange-traded fund saw its largest inflow in a
month on Monday.
Brent crude, Europe's regional benchmark, edged up 9 cents
to $108.17 a barrel, while U.S. oil slipped 38 cents to