* S&P 500 sets new closing high, Europe also rallies
* Political tensions keep bonds, euro trading cautiously
* Euro hits 8-month lows against dollar, bund yields fall
* Crude prices gain as U.S. stockpiles fall
(Adds close of U.S. markets)
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, July 23 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, in emerging markets and most of Wall
Street rose, with the benchmark S&P 500 closing at a new record
high as results continued to top 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
"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
"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 0.21
percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.14 percent
to close at 1,375.69.
But the Dow bucked the broader trend pulled lower by a 2.3
percent drop in Boeing Co shares after investors were spooked by
rising costs in its military tanker program.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 26.91
points, or 0.16 percent, to 17,086.63. The S&P 500 gained
3.48 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,987.01 and the Nasdaq
Composite added 17.681 points, or 0.4 percent, to
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 148.32.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries slipped less
than 1/32 in price to yield 2.4673 percent.
The euro was 0.03 percent lower at $1.3460, while the
dollar was 0.04 percent higher against the Japanese yen
Crude oil futures rose on both sides of the Atlantic after
oil stockpiles in the United States fell more than expected, and
amid ongoing tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Brent crude for September delivery settled up 70
cents at $108.03 a barrel. U.S. crude for September delivery
rose 73 cents to settle at $103.12 a barrel.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Lionel
Laurent in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Diane Craft)