* China data boosts stocks and oil outlook
* U.S. shares rally on M&A activity, earnings
* Europe rises on easing concerns over Portugal bank
(Updates to close of U.S. trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, July 16 Stock markets around the world
rose on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average ending
at record levels as strong China growth data and potential big
deals in the United States boosted investor sentiment.
Commodity prices also found support from the Chinese data,
which pointed to improving demand, while gold rebounded after a
two-day drop and Europe rose on easing concerns over the
vulnerability of Portugal's largest listed lender.
Wall Street stocks gained on proposed acquisition activity.
Time Warner Inc jumped 17 percent after Twenty-First
Century Fox confirmed it had made an $80 billion offer
for Time Warner, which turned it down.
Investors also took heart from a round of positive earnings,
including from tech bellwether Intel Corp, which rose
9.3 percent to $34.65 on better-than-expected results.
Equity prices have stalled recently as investors questioned
whether fundamentals justified indexes being at or near records.
On Tuesday, shares dipped after Federal Reserve Chair Janet
Yellen said some sectors of the U.S. stock market had
"substantially stretched valuations."
"The M&A activity and results really validate current
levels, which Yellen had raised a red flag on," said Nicholas
Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group in New
China's economy expanded at a 7.5 percent annual pace in the
second quarter, the statistics bureau said, just beating the 7.4
percent median forecast in a Reuters poll. The data confirmed
the economy had stabilized after a shaky start to the year,
though analysts said the pick-up was largely driven by
"There's a lot of good news to go around today, but given
all the worries there were about China, the data there is
especially a positive," Colas said.
The MSCI International ACWI Price Index rose
0.5 percent on the day.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 77.33 points,
or 0.45 percent, to 17,138.01, the S&P 500 rose 8.26
points, or 0.42 percent, to 1,981.54 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 9.58 points, or 0.22 percent, to 4,425.97.
The U.S. 10-year Treasury note rose 5/32 in
price, yielding 2.5323 percent.
In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 equity index
jumped 1.3 percent, its biggest one-day advance since
April 29 as concerns eased over the exposure of Portugal's Banco
Espirito Santo to the troubled companies of its founding family.
"There must be investors there counting that most of the
impact is already priced in and it's time to buy," said Fincor
analyst Albino Oliveira.
Lisbon shares rose 3.1 percent, with BES shares
soaring 20 percent.
U.S. DOLLAR RISES
The U.S. dollar index, which values the greenback
against a basket of currencies, rose 0.2 percent, advancing for
a second straight session to hit its highest in a month after
Yellen said interest rates could rise sooner than expected if
employment data improved.
The euro was down 0.3 percent at $1.3525 while the
dollar was flat against the yen at 101.70 yen.
One of the biggest movers was the New Zealand dollar, which
dropped 0.7 percent to a low of $0.8707 after benign
inflation data that could reduce pressure on the central bank to
U.S. crude oil futures rose 1.4 percent to $101.32
per barrel after the China data, while Brent crude
hovered around $106 after hitting a three-month low of $104.39
Gold rose 0.3 percent but held near a four-week low,
having fallen more than 3 percent over the first two sessions of
this week. Silver rose 0.3 percent while copper
fell 0.7 percent.
(Editing by Meredith Mazzilli, James Dalgleish and Dan Grebler)