3 Min Read
* S&P 500 hits new intraday high, Europe closes higher
* Political tensions keep bonds, euro trading cautiously
* Euro hits 8-month lows against dollar, bund yields fall
* Crude prices gain (Adds close of European bond, stocks markets)
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, July 23 (Reuters) - Global equity markets edged higher on Wednesday as a backdrop of solid corporate earnings buoyed risk appetite, but worries over the Middle East and Ukraine kept demand strong for safe-haven assets such as bonds.
Shares in Europe and emerging markets, and most of Wall Street, rose, with the benchmark S&P 500 setting a new intraday record for a second day as results continued to beat forecasts.
Of the 149 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results, 68.5 percent have beat expectations, a bit better than the past four quarters and five percentage points above the 20-year average of 63 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
"The bottom line is investors have moved away, for now, from the big political stories and are refocused on earnings, which in general have been good," said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"There's just not a lot of bad news out there when it comes to corporate earnings," he said.
MSCI's all-country world index rose 0.17 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.14 percent to close at 1,375.69.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 31.76 points, or 0.19 percent, to 17,081.78. The S&P 500 gained 2.56 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,986.09 and the Nasdaq Composite added 13.869 points, or 0.31 percent, to 4,469.885.
The prospect of more sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis and a downed Malaysian airliner kept risk aversion on the table in the bond market, where German 10-year yields nudged down to 1.147 percent, just shy of record lows.
Bund futures rose 32 ticks to settle at 148.36.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries were up 3/32 in price to yield 2.4529 percent.
The euro was 0.01 percent lower at $1.3463, while the dollar was 0.01 percent higher against the Japanese yen at 101.47.
Brent crude for September delivery was up 13 cents at $107.46 a barrel. U.S. crude for September delivery was 51 cents higher at $102.90 a barrel.
Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Lionel Laurent in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski