* Fed speakers eyed for more clues to U.S. policy moves
* Stocks buoyed as fear of further Ukraine tensions ebb
* Oil prices rise on fear of supply disruption over Crimea
(Adds opening of U.S. markets; changes byline and dateline,
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, March 21 World markets steadied on
Friday after a volatile week driven by speculation over shifts
in U.S. monetary policy, with equities around the globe on the
rise and the euro up against the dollar, while crude oil rose on
fear of supply disruptions over Crimea.
The benchmark S&P 500 index hit a new record intra-day high
as equities were boosted by Moscow's assertion that no other
Ukrainian region would be subject to intervention.
Brent crude rose more than 1 percent to above $107 a barrel
as U.S. sanctions against Russia, the world's second-largest oil
exporter, increased fears of a supply disruption.
Brent remained on track for a fourth weekly loss, however,
and President Vladimir Putin signed laws completing Russia's
annexation of Crimea on Friday.
Both the S&P 500 and the Dow were on track for a fourth day
of gains this week, even though some analysts say equities are
vulnerable to any escalation in U.S.-Russian tensions.
"The path of least resistance for markets is up, and so far
it doesn't think the Ukraine issue is too big of a negative
since no one really thinks that Putin will do anything too
drastic," said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global
Investors Inc in San Antonio. "Of course if things do heat up,
it would really become a headwind for markets."
Early strength in Europe helped MSCI's all-country world
equity index trade up 0.47 percent. The euro
zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index rose 0.4
percent after a major options expiry.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose
90.06 points, or 0.55 percent, to 16,421.11. The S&P 500
gained 8.28 points, or 0.44 percent, to 1,880.29 and the Nasdaq
Composite dropped 9.108 points, or 0.21 percent, to
Companies tied to the pace of economic growth were among the
biggest gainers, with energy and industrial
rallying. Joy Global Inc jumped 3.8 percent to $57.26
while Halliburton Co was up 1.8 percent to $58.41.
Speeches from U.S. Federal Reserve officials later in the
day will be parsed for clues to the pace of U.S. tightening and
could drive fresh market moves.
New Fed Chair Janet Yellen surprised investors mid-week by
hinting rates might rise earlier than expected, while U.S.
economic data on Thursday was mixed.
That kept the dollar near a three-week peak against a basket
of major currencies and helped initial gains against the
safe-haven Swiss franc and yen. The dollar later
fell 0.13 percent against the yen and 0.17 against the franc.
It dipped 0.2 percent against the euro, however,
after the single currency got a boost from euro zone current
account data, which hit a record high in January.
The euro hit an intraday high of $1.38011.
German benchmark debt futures were steady, rising 7
ticks to 142.47.
Benchmark 10-year notes were last up 3/32 in
price to yield 2.76 percent,
Brent crude was up $1.2 at $107.65 a barrel. U.S.
crude for May delivery, which became the front-month
contract on Friday, was up $1.10 at $100.00 a barrel.
(Additional reporting by Simon Jessop, Reporting by Herbert
Lash; Editing by Chris Reese)