* Dollar up as call to end Ukraine violence cuts safety bid
* Russia, Ukraine, U.S. and EU in joint call to end violence
* U.S. jobless claims, factory data boost sentiment on
* U.S. corporate earnings mixed
(Adds close of U.S. markets, comment)
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, April 17 Global equity markets rose on
Thursday, boosted by solid U.S. economic data and upbeat results
from some U.S. companies, including General Electric, while the
dollar rose after a joint call by major powers for an end to the
fighting in Ukraine.
Currencies have seesawed on fears that increased bloodshed
between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian fighters in the eastern
part of Ukraine might escalate into a full-blown civil war.
Tensions have been on the rise since Russia annexed Ukraine's
Crimea region last month, and armed protesters in eastern
Ukraine have captured several towns.
Separatists attacked a Ukrainian national guard base
overnight in the worst fighting so far in a 10-day pro-Russian
uprising. The United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European
Union on Thursday issued a joint statement calling for the
violence to end.
"The statement reduces the geopolitical concerns that have
been overhanging the market. That's why we've seen a pop up in
Treasuries yields and the dollar," said Omer Esiner, chief
market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.
The joint statement spurred traders to trim their safe-haven
holdings in the Japanese yen and Swiss franc, and boosted the
Russian rouble to its highest level against the dollar in seven
It also spurred selling in safe-haven U.S. government bonds.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 23/32 in
price to yield 2.72 percent.
The rising tension in Ukraine did not affect U.S. stocks,
which were little changed. Strong results from industrial
conglomerate GE and investment bank Morgan Stanley were offset
by disappointing results late on Wednesday from IBM and
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a
basket of six currencies, rose 0.065 points or 0.08 percent, to
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks
shares in 45 nations, rose 1.15 points or 0.28 percent, to
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 16.31
points or 0.1 percent, to 16,408.54, the S&P 500 gained
2.54 points, or 0.14 percent, to 1,864.85, and the Nasdaq
Composite added 9.291 points, or 0.23 percent, to
U.S. markets will be closed on Friday in observance of the
Good Friday holiday.
Morgan Stanley reported a 55 percent jump in
first-quarter earnings, General Electric posted a 12
percent rise in overall industrial profits, and both earnings
and revenue of Goldman Sachs beat market estimates.
"The market is digesting the sharp move we've seen this week
and is doing its best to ignore the results from IBM and Google,
which didn't look great," said Steve Sosnick, equity risk
manager at Timber Hill/Interactive Brokers Group in Greenwich,
The number of Americans filing initial claims for jobless
benefits rose less than expected in the latest week and factory
activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region expanded in April at a
faster clip than expected.
The U.S. Labor Department said initial claims for
unemployment benefits ticked up 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted
304,000 for the week ended April 12, near the 6-1/2-year low
touched the prior week.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business
activity index rose to 16.6 from 9.0 in March. A reading above
zero indicates expansion in the mid-Atlantic region's
European equities finished higher. The FTSEurofirst 300
index of top European shares closed up 0.46 percent.
Brent crude settled down 7 cents at $109.53 a
barrel. U.S. crude settled up 54 cents at $104.30 a
barrel. U.S. COMEX gold futures for June delivery settled
down $9.60 at $1,293.90 an ounce.
(Reporting by Sam Forgione in New York; Additional reporting by
Carolyn Cohn in London and Richard Leong in New York; Editing by