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GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares and oil up, euro firmer but growth concerns lurk
February 24, 2012 / 3:30 PM / in 6 years

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares and oil up, euro firmer but growth concerns lurk

* High oil price clouds growth picture

* Euro hovers near 10-week highs vs dollar

* U.S. shares open higher; world stocks up

* U.S. bonds up slightly

NEW YORK, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Oil prices climbed and were headed for a fifth straight weekly gain on Friday, but stocks rose as investors focused on bright spots in the global economy.

Unease about higher oil prices and doubts about the implementation of Greece’s rescue deal tempered some of the risk appetite, but U.S. bond prices were up slightly.

A day after hitting a record high in euro terms, Brent crude jumped above $124 a barrel, raising worries a run of sharp price gains could stymie the euro zone’s growth prospects, making it harder for governments to meet budget targets and pull the currency bloc out of its debt crisis.

Brent has risen more than 11 percent so far this month, on worries over Iranian supply in particular, and reached a high of $124.28 on Friday.

“The supportive factors (for crude oil prices) are on the supply side - Iran and Iran and Iran, with a bit of Syria and Sudan,” said Christopher Bellew, a broker at Jefferies Bache in London. “It would not be at these numbers if it was not for the supply-side problems.”

U.S. stocks opened higher, bringing the Standard & Poor’s 500 closer to peaks not since before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 27.62 points, or 0.21 percent, at 13,012.31. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 4.15 points, or 0.30 percent, at 1,367.61. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.07 points, or 0.31 percent, at 2,966.05.

“We’ve touched these significant points (in the stock indices) and they haven’t shown a lot of support, that makes me want to look at the short term with a cautious eye,” said Joseph Cangemi, managing director at BNY ConvergEx Group in New York.

Global stocks as measured by MSCI were up 0.6 percent, with European stocks rose 0.5 percent.

Data on Friday confirmed Germany’s economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, but investors were optimistic that Europe’s biggest economy will avoid falling into recession after a strong business sentiment reading on Thursday.

The euro was last up 0.7 percent after hitting a 10-week high at $1.3412 on trading platform EBS.

In the U.S. Treasury marekt, the benchmark 10-year U.S. note was up 4/32, with the yield at 1.9809 percent.

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