* Wall St ends higher as blue chips rally; Intel up late
* Bonds rise on safety buying
* Russia says Ukraine on brink of civil war
* Brent oil falls as investors weigh Libya, Ukraine
(Adds close of U.S. markets)
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, April 15 Global equity markets traded
flat and government debt rose on Tuesday over rising tensions in
Ukraine after Russia declared the country on the brink of civil
war, though Wall Street stocks managed to end higher in a
volatile session as blue chips advanced.
But weakness in many momentum names -- the technology and
biotechnology shares that have been high-flyers -- limited the
Concerns over escalating conflict in Ukraine drove U.S. bond
purchases, while data showing disappointing growth in
manufacturing in New York state pointed to sluggishness in the
economy and added to the bid for safe-haven bonds.
Separately, confidence among U.S. homebuilders remained
downbeat, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market
index, which rose only a point to 47 in April, the third month
in a row it was below 50. Readings below 50 mean more builders
view market conditions as poor than favorable.
European stocks were held back by the worries over the
escalating tensions in Ukraine and weak results by bellwethers
including Nestle. The FTSEurofirst 300 index
of top European shares closed down 0.96 percent at 1,306.85 and
kept a damper on a measure of global equity activity.
Dow components Coke and J&J rose after reporting quarterly
results, while names in the Internet and biotech space fell, a
sign investors were rotating from growth into value stocks.
High-growth stocks have been under pressure in recent weeks
after their sharp rise in prices took valuations to levels
The Nasdaq Biotech index rebounded 0.9 percent after
earlier trading down more than 3.5 percent.
"The market is trying to stabilize, and investors are
looking for high-quality names that have stability in their
earnings and prices," said Bruce McCain, chief investment
strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland. "This afternoon's
move is part of that same flight to quality."
Russia declared Ukraine on the brink of civil war as Kiev
said an "anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Moscow
separatists was under way, with troops and armored personnel
carriers seen near a flashpoint eastern town.
"We're cautious in the short term, we're waiting to see how
the geopolitical situation evolves. There are a lot of
uncertainties about Ukraine, which could become a negative
catalyst for stocks if things spin out of control," said
Barclays France director Franklin Pichard.
MSCI's all-country world stock index traded
flat after Wall Street's close.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 89.32 points,
or 0.55 percent, to 16,262.56, the S&P 500 gained 12.37
points, or 0.68 percent, to 1,842.98, and the Nasdaq Composite
added 11.467 points, or 0.29 percent, to 4,034.161.
After the closing bell, Intel Corp shares rose 3
percent to $27.56 after the chipmaker reported first-quarter
results and gave an outlook.
Yahoo Inc shares jumped 8 percent in after-hours
trade, to $36.90. The company reported only a slight rise in its
core advertising business in the first quarter, but the shares
jumped on strong results from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the
Chinese e-commerce company in which Yahoo holds a 24 percent
Over all, corporate results have been weak so far. Of the 36
companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date for
the first quarter, only 52.8 percent have topped analyst
expectations. In a typical quarter over the past two decades, 62
percent of companies beat estimates.
U.S. Treasuries prices gained as the rising tensions in
Ukraine sparked a safety bid.
Benchmark 10-year notes were up 3/32 in price to
yield 2.6301 percent.
The dollar rose slightly against the euro in late trade. The
euro recovered against the dollar on Monday after the European
Central Bank president, Mario Draghi, indicated over the weekend
that the central bank would act to prevent deflation in the euro
The dollar edged higher against the euro, up 0.04
percent at $1.3813.
The dollar was up 0.11 percent against the Japanese yen
at 101.93, and was up 0.06 percent against the Swiss
franc, at 0.8801 franc.
The U.S. dollar index was last up 0.08 percent.
Benchmark Brent oil rose slightly after news that Ukrainian
armed forces launched military operations in the east of the
country, though gains were limited by the prospect of a
resumption of oil exports from Libya.
U.S. crude futures fell 30 cents to settle at
$103.75. The June contract for Brent, which will become
the front-month contract on Wednesday, settled 29 cents higher
at $109.36 a barrel.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Jamie
McGeever in London; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Leslie Adler)