* Wall Street indexes up nearly 1 percent
* Oil falls as Ukraine tensions ease, supply improves
* Dollar rises; Gold dips under $1,300
(Updates prices, quotes)
By Michael Connor
NEW YORK, Aug 18 U.S. stock prices jumped on
Monday, following the path of equities in Europe, as investors
breathed easier over the crisis in Ukraine and knocked oil
prices to lows not seen in more than a year.
U.S. bond prices dropped and the dollar rose after dipping
on Friday, when the government in Kiev said its artillery had
hit a Russian armored column. Russia denied its forces had
crossed into Ukraine.
On Wall Street, an $8.95 billion bid by discount retailer
Dollar General Corp for Family Dollar Inc that
trumped a bid by Dollar Tree Inc also helped prices.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 175.7 points,
or 1.05 percent, to 16,838.61, the S&P 500 gained 16.79
points, or 0.86 percent, to 1,971.85, and the Nasdaq Composite
added 42.20 points, or 0.95 percent, to 4,507.13.
"People left Friday unsure of whether or not the Ukrainian
conflict was escalating and they seem to have come back today
thinking it's not," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView
Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
rose 1.2 percent. German blue chips, which are considered
especially vulnerable to tensions between the West and Russia,
were among the top gainers.
Oil fell below $102 a barrel as investor concerns over both
the conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq eased and as higher Libyan oil
output added to already ample supplies.
Brent crude was off $2.16 to $101.37 a barrel by
11:46 a.m. (1546 GMT) after falling as low as $101.11, the
lowest level since June 2013. U.S. crude for September
fell $1.28 to $96.07, after touching a low of $95.81.
U.S. Treasury debt prices fell after three days of gains last
week. Risk appetite grew on upbeat U.S. housing data and the
easing tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine. The NAHB/Wells
Fargo Housing Market index, which measures homebuilder
sentiment, rose for a third straight month in August.
U.S. 10-year note prices fell 12/32 to yield
2.387 percent, from 2.339 percent late on Friday. U.S. 30-year
bond prices also slid, dropping 1-3/32 to yield 3.191 percent,
from 3.129 percent the previous session
Yields on German 10-year debt, the euro zone
benchmark, rose 2.6 basis points to a shade above 1.001 percent.
As equities rose, gold slipped below $1,300 an ounce and was
last trading at $1,298.
In currency markets, the dollar index, which measures
the greenback against six major currencies, was up 0.18 percent.
"The market was a little bit concerned that things could
flare up in the Ukraine region over the weekend, and the fact
that they haven't has made the market relax a little bit," said
Douglas Borthwick, managing director at Chapdelaine Foreign
Exchange in New York.
(Reporting by Michael Connor in New York; Additional Reporting
by Chuck Mikolajczak, Sam Forgione and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
in New York, and Nigel Stephenson in London; Editing by Dan
Grebler and Leslie Adler)