* Stocks push higher after upbeat U.S. data on Thursday
* Dollar firms versus yen, euro steady
* Ukraine's currency, bonds firm after president announces
By Nigel Stephenson
LONDON, Feb 21 Global shares and the dollar rose
on Friday, buoyed by upbeat U.S. data the previous day, while
Ukraine's currency and bonds firmed on hopes that plans to end a
violent crisis there would bear fruit.
European stocks pushed higher, tracking gains in Asia and on
Wall Street after Markit's flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing
Managers Index on Thursday hit its highest since May 2010,
reinforcing investor confidence economic recovery was on track.
U.S. stocks looked set to open higher with index futures
"There are some warning signs but ... for the U.S. and
Europe we remain constructive", Matthias Thiel, market
strategist at Hamburg-based M.M. Warburg. "From our point of
view there are no good reasons why the economic cycle might be
over and we get a downturn."
The dollar rose against the yen as the data underpinned
hopes for sustained economic strengthening. The euro held steady
to the U.S. currency having been hit by sub-forecast data on
Higher U.S. Treasury yields - 10-year bonds
yielded 2.76 percent compared with 2.75 percent in late U.S.
trade - also supported the dollar.
German 10-year yields, the euro zone
benchmark, fell 2.7 basis points to 1.67 percent as investors
focused on the patchy European numbers, which some said could
make further monetary easing by the European Central Bank more
"There's still a lot of uncertainty about the state of the
global economy. The China and euro zone PMI data wasn't
particularly great and that leaves the door open for ECB
action," said Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Merrion
In Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovich unveiled plans to
hold early presidential elections and form a national unity
While it was unclear if the opposition would accept such a
deal to end a crisis that has killed at least 77 people,
Ukraine's hryvnia currency rose to 8.83 per dollar,
lifting off Thursday's five-year low of 9.085. Its dollar bond
prices rose and debt insurance costs fell.
The announcement also supported nearby emerging markets in
Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe.
Standard and Poor's cut Ukraine's credit rating for the
second time in three weeks, lowering it by one notch to triple-C
and saying there was an increased risk of default.
Neighbouring Russia's rouble edged up to 41.76 against the
dollar-euro basket, off record lows set on Wednesday.
China's yuan hit its lowest since early October in
offshore trade, falling past 6.10 per dollar. Earlier, dealers
said the central bank has abruptly signalled the market to
prepare for more volatility in preparation for reform.
Most other Asian emerging market currencies rose.
MSCI's main index of emerging markets stocks was
up 0.7 percent, reversing a fall on Thursday when data showed
Chinese factory activity contracting.
MSCI's all-country world equity index, which
tracks shares in 45 countries, rose 0.3 percent. The index has
risen 6 percent since early February and is a whisker away from
a six-year high hit in early January.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares
gained 0.3 percent to 1,342.24 points.
Earlier Japan's Nikkei index closed 2.9 percent
higher and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside
Japan rose 0.83 percent.
The U.S. S&P 500 index ended up 0.6 percent on
Thursday. The stock market has largely pinned recent weak data
on the impact of extremely cold weather rather than worsening
The dollar rose against a basket of currencies and
firmed 0.2 percent against the yen, which last traded at
102.40 to the greenback.
The euro was steady at $1.3707, having hit a
seven-week high of $1.37735 on Wednesday.
Market participants were also watching for developments from
this weekend's Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers and
central bank chiefs in Sydney, at which global growth and recent
turmoil in emerging markets are expected to be in focus.