* 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 close of U.S. trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, May 8 Stock markets around the world
mostly rose on Thursday, gaining on positive comments from
central banks, though U.S. shares ended flat as an early rally
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 0.4 percent
against the dollar. It previously rose to its highest level
since November 2011.
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
Her comments were seen as indicating continued support for
the economy, and U.S. shares rose for much of the session,
though they turned lower in the afternoon after nearing record
"We got right to resistance, we challenged it, but had no
momentum to get through," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE
floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York. "There was no
surprise from Yellen, the ECB could have helped the market but
that hasn't happened; there's just not enough momentum."
The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 32.43
points, or 0.20 percent, at 16,550.97. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 2.58 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,875.63.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 16.18 points, or
0.40 percent, at 4,051.50.
The MSCI International ACWI Price Index rose
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was up 2/32,
with the yield at 2.6125 percent. The U.S. dollar index,
which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies,
rose 0.3 percent and the greenback rose 0.3 percent against the
The tense situation in the Ukraine weighed as 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 rose 1.1 percent after trading flat for
much of the session.
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 0.5 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.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Dan