* U.S. stocks mixed in early trading
* China January exports and imports well above forecasts
* U.S. House passes debt limit, diminishes danger of default
* Sterling rises as BoE hints at rate hike in 2015
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Feb 12 Prices climbed on global stock
markets for a sixth straight session on Wednesday after upbeat
trade data from China and a U.S. deal extending federal
borrowing authority, while the British pound rose to a two-week
high against the dollar.
U.S. stocks were mixed shortly after the opening, putting
the S&P 500 within striking distance of a record high, while
Treasuries prices fell on the debt agreement.
Chinese exports and imports outperformed expectations in
January by a wide margin, easing fears that the world's second-
largest economy is mired in a worsening slowdown and reviving
investors' appetite for emerging market assets that had been
battered in recent weeks.
MSCI's index of emerging market stocks added 1 percent
, extending its bounce from five-month lows hit earlier
this month. The Australian dollar rose to a one-month
high on the prospect of stronger demand from China, Australia's
largest export market.
The broader MSCI All-Country World Index was
up 0.3 percent and was on track to post its longest winning run
in five months, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index rose
0.8 percent. Europe is one of China's largest trading partners.
"Our analysis suggests that emerging market equities are
discounting an outcome substantially below current consensus
forecasts, so of course a better-than-expected outcome is going
to help the case," said Ian Scott, a global equity strategist at
Barclays in London.
Investors also took heart from a strong share market
performance in the United States, where Congress agreed to
advance legislation extending U.S. borrowing authority and the
Federal Reserve's new chief, Janet Yellen, pledged to keep
interest rates at ultra-low levels for longer.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was
down 27.04 points, or 0.17 percent, at 15,967.73. The Standard &
Poor's 500 Index was up 0.41 points, or 0.02 percent, at
1,820.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 7.68 points,
or 0.18 percent, at 4,198.72.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell
12/32 in price to yield 2.7589 percent.
The Bank of England indicated that interest rates may need
to rise in just over a year and boosted its growth forecast,
sending the pound up against the dollar and the euro
"The BoE seems to become the first major central bank, bar
the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, to hike interest rates," said
Chris Turner, chief currency strategist at ING. "We are
expecting a rate hike in February 2015, so in the short term
sterling looks good, especially against the euro."
Sterling jumped to a two-week high of $1.6562, up 0.7
percent on the day.
The calmer mood in markets was reflected in the VSTOXX index
of euro zone equity volatility, which fell for a sixth
day to lows not reached since late January.
In commodities markets, gold prices inched lower after the
Fed chief painted an optimistic economic outlook that whetted
investors' risk appetite. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent
at $1,290.14 an ounce, snapping a three-day winning streak.
Brent crude rose above $109 a barrel, helped by expectations
of strengthening global demand as OPEC raised its 2014 forecast
and following the Chinese data.
Brent crude was last up 55 cents at $109.23, while
U.S. crude oil was up $1.05 at $100.99.