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* Russian shares, rouble rebound
* U.S. short-term yields steady after touching 6-month high
* Dollar edges higher against euro
* China stimulus hopes support emerging market shares
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, March 25 Stocks on Wall Street were
mixed on Tuesday after robust U.S. consumer confidence data,
while Russian assets rose after major industrialized nations
warned of additional sanctions without committing to a
U.S. consumer confidence rose more than expected in March,
climbing to its highest level since January 2008. The report was
the latest in a string of positive reads on the economy that
supported views that softness early this year was related to bad
weather and not weakening fundamentals.
"Investors became momentarily concerned about valuation, but
that pullback was healthy, and we could see modest gains from
here just because equities remain the most attractive place to
be," said Kristina Hooper, head of portfolio strategies at
Allianz Global Investors in New York, which has $475 billion in
assets under management.
Biotech shares fell after a rebound at the open,
extending their bearish streak for a fifth straight day. Some
Internet stocks were up after Monday's mauling.
Investor spirits brightened after a meeting of Western
leaders ended with little more than fist-shaking at Russia and
news emerged that Moscow's and Kiev's foreign ministers had held
an impromptu first meeting.
Sanctions have been imposed against Moscow for its seizure
of Crimea, but investors say asset freezes have had little
Shares in Moscow rose, with the Micex Index gaining 2
percent, while the rouble gained 1 percent against the
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 27.62 points,
or 0.17 percent, at 16,304.31. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was down 0.31 points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,857.13. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 20.16 points, or 0.48
percent, at 4,206.23
The rebound was an indication that while concerns persist
about geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and slowing growth in
China, investors were not bearish on equities wholesale.
A measure of world equity markets edged up
Long-dated U.S. debt prices fell and short-dated Treasury
prices rose, interrupting a four-day trend in which
shorter-dated debt weakened more quickly than longer-term bonds.
Two-year and five-year notes have been the worst performers
since Fed chief Janet Yellen's remarks that the central bank
could raise rates six months after its current bond-buying
program ends, suggesting a potential hike by spring of 2015.
That has flattened the yield curve, narrowing the difference
between short- and long-dated securities, which suggests more
concern about higher rates and a bit less confidence in
Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, a notably
hawkish member of the Fed who has argued for an end to the Fed's
monthly bond buying program, told CNBC on Tuesday that Yellen
had not made a mistake on her timing for a rate hike.
"We've moved a lot since Yellen's press conference last
Wednesday. The flattener is a crowded trade, you are seeing
people taking off some positions for event risk," said Charles
Comiskey, head of Treasuries trading at Bankof Nova Scotia in
Two-year Treasuries, the most sensitive to
interest rate changes, were steady at 0.4250 percent after
reaching a six-month high of 0.4650 percent on Monday. The
Treasury will auction $32 billion in two-year notes in the early
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was unchanged, its
yield at 2.7353 percent.
The euro dipped after ECB hawk and Bundesbank chief Jens
Weidmann said it was not out of the question for the ECB to buy
assets to combat super-low inflation.
European stocks were up 1.2 percent and on course
for their biggest rise in almost a month. Adding to the upbeat
mood was talk China may launch fresh stimulus to keep up the
pace of its economic growth.
"There is a perception that China will look to do some more
stimulus," said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets.
"Personally I think those expectations are way overdone but if
the market believes it, then that is all that matters."
The dollar moved higher against most major currencies
while the euro and yen were under pressure, along
with a number of emerging market currencies.
The euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.3792. Weidmann's comments,
together with a below-forecast German Ifo business sentiment
survey, also pushed down yields on euro zone government bonds.
U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,310.73
an ounce. Spot gold was modestly higher, rising $1.88 to
$1311 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; Editing by Larry
King, Susan Fenton and Dan Grebler)