* Surge in factory activity boosts U.S. equities
* Weak euro zone, Chinese data hit global shares
* Euro falls vs dollar after PMI data
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, Feb 20 U.S. stocks and the dollar
mostly rose on Thursday on data showing that U.S. factory
activity accelerated in February at its fastest pace in nearly
four years, but economic surveys showing a soft patch in China
and parts of Europe dragged on global equity markets.
Markit's preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers
Index rose to 56.7 in February, its highest level since May
2010, from a final reading for January of 53.7. A reading above
50 indicates expansion.
"The manufacturing data is extremely positive, especially
coming after a spate of bad news at a time when the (Federal
Reserve) seems committed to slowing stimulus," said Nicholas
Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group in New
Even so, Colas said the U.S. equity market's strength is
somewhat surprising given weakness in overseas markets.
"It is good to see investors buying on dips, but I've also
been hearing a lot more bearish chatter," Colas said.
Shares in Europe and emerging markets fell as a contraction
in Chinese manufacturing set a gloomy tone, which was reinforced
by data showing an unexpected stall in activity in parts of the
Markit's Composite Purchasing Managers' Index for the euro
zone dipped in February, although it held just below January's
31-month high. The service sector in France shrank at its
fastest pace in nine months.
MSCI's all-country world equity index, a
measure of equity markets in 45 countries, was down 0.26
percent. Its emerging markets index was down 0.92
percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading
European shares fell 0.26 percent.
Stocks on Wall Street were higher. The Dow Jones industrial
average rose 54.49 points, or 0.34 percent, to 16,095.05.
The S&P 500 gained 5.68 points, or 0.31 percent, to
1,834.43, and the Nasdaq Composite added 12.172 points,
or 0.29 percent, to 4,250.126.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's biggest retailer,
was the Dow's bigger decliner, falling 2.4 percent to $73.07
after the company reported a drop in U.S. same-store sales and
gave an earnings outlook that was below expectations.
Shares of Tesla Motors Inc hit an all-time high of
$215.21 a day after it reported fourth-quarter results that
topped expectations and said deliveries of its luxury Model S
electric sedan would surge more than 55 percent this year. In
late morning trade the shares were up 8.5 percent at $210.15.
The dollar strengthened on the manufacturing report. The
dollar index rose 0.19 percent to 80.299, while against
the Japanese yen the dollar traded near break-even to
slightly higher. It was last at 102.32 yen.
The euro fell as low as $1.3688, pulling away further
from a seven-week high of $1.37735 struck on Wednesday. It last
traded down 0.13 percent at $1.3714.
U.S. Treasuries prices fell as the mostly positive economic
data met expectations.
Benchmark 10-year note yields reached session highs of 2.75
percent following the manufacturing data. The 10-year notes
fell 8/32 in price to yield 2.7626 percent.