* Draghi holds rates steady but seems open to more stimulus
* Yellen reiterates supportive Federal Reserve view
* Separatists ignore Putin calls to postpone Ukraine
* China exports, imports beat forecast
(Updates to midday U.S. trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, May 8 Stock markets around the world
jumped on Thursday, lifted by supportive comments from central
banks in both Europe and the United States.
European shares climbed 1.1 percent after European
Central Bank President Mario Draghi was seen as opening the door
to more stimulus measures in June.
The ECB stance pushed the euro down 0.3 percent
against the dollar. It previously rose to its highest level
since November 2011. The yen rose
slightly against the dollar.
In the United States, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen,
speaking to the Senate Budget Committee, repeated a statement
she made on Wednesday that she expects improved year-over-year
growth, though weakness in the housing sector could undermine
that forecast. Her comments were seen as indicating continued
support for the economy.
"Given the need to stimulate the economy, the European
Central Bank may take some pages out of the U.S. play-book and
become more aggressive, which should continue to lift European
shares or companies tied to Europe," said Eric Teal, chief
investment officer at First Citizens Bancshares Inc. in Raleigh,
"So long as the Fed continues to take a wait-and-see
approach for removing stimulus, that should provide a good
backdrop for investments."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 94.18 points,
or 0.57 percent, at 16,612.72. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 8.29 points, or 0.44 percent, at 1,886.50. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 28.79 points, or 0.71
percent, at 4,096.47.
The MSCI International ACWI Price Index rose
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was up 8/32, the
yield at 2.591 percent.
The tense situation in the Ukraine remained in view after
pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine ignored a public call
by Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone a referendum on
self-rule, declaring they would go ahead on Sunday with a vote
that could lead to war.
Gold, viewed as a safe-haven asset, was flat on the
day after dropping more than 1.5 percent over the previous two
sessions. Copper was also flat.
In Asia, China's exports and imports returned to slight
growth in April after a surprise fall in March, offering signs
that Beijing's use of targeted policy measures to underpin
growth may be starting to stabilize the economy.
U.S. crude futures fell 0.6 percent and Brent crude
was off 0.1 percent. Traders continued to watch the
situation in Ukraine, as well as Chinese crude imports, which
jumped to a record high.
(Editing by Dan Grebler)