April 1, 2014 / 8:30 PM / in 4 years

GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall St ends at record to lead global shares; oil slides

* Brent, U.S. crude futures prices tumble more than 2 pct
    * U.S. benchmark S&P 500 hits record high
    * ISM manufacturing data offers reassurance on U.S. economy
    * Emerging market share index at highest level since Jan 2

 (Updates prices, changes comments, adds details)
    By Rodrigo Campos
    NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - World equity markets added to
recent gains on Tuesday as Wall Street hit a record high after
strong factory data, while soft manufacturing numbers in China
reinforced expectations that the country will undertake stimulus
    Crude oil futures tumbled. U.S. crude prices were pressured
by expectations for a build in domestic inventories, and Chinese
and European data weighed on the price of Brent.
    Spot gold hit a seven-week low and prices of other
safe-havens like U.S. Treasuries and the yen also fell.
Factories across Europe eased back on the throttle in March
while China's vast manufacturing industry contracted for a third
straight month, fueling expectations policymakers may be forced
to act in coming months. 
    In the United States, however, manufacturing growth
accelerated for a second straight month in March as production
recovered, relieving fears that the economy had hit a stumbling
    "We're starting the second quarter with signs that the
economy is maintaining the kind of reasonable growth that will
continue to support the (equity) market," said Jim McDonald,
chief investment strategist at Chicago-based Northern Trust
Global Investments.
    The S&P 500 hit a record intraday high, at 1,885.84.,
shortly after the manufacturing data was released, and closed
just off the session high. MSCI's world stocks gauge
 was up 0.6 percent.
    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 74.95 points,
or 0.46 percent, at 16,532.61. The S&P 500 added 13.18
points, or 0.70 percent, at 1,885.52. The Nasdaq Composite
 gained 69.05 points, or 1.64 percent, at 4,268.04.
    European were lifted by merger activity as well as robust
French factory data. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares closed up 0.56 percent at a three-week high.
U.S.-dollar-denominated Nikkei futures added 0.5 percent.
    An index of emerging market shares topped the
1,000 level for the first time since Jan. 2 and was up for an
eighth straight day, supported by Federal Reserve Chair Janet
Yellen's comments a day earlier on the need for "extraordinary"
commitment to support the U.S. economy.
    Emerging stocks are now almost flat for the year after
having fallen as much as 8.8 percent, a low hit early in
    Yields in longer-dated U.S. Treasuries rose on the upbeat
U.S. manufacturing data, while intermediate-dated Treasuries
yields held steady in the wake of Yellen's comments.    
    The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
last down 9/32 in price to yield 2.7571 percent, compared to a
yield of 2.724 percent late Monday.
    The expectation of Fed support kept the U.S. currency under
pressure from the euro, but the dollar hit a session high
against the yen after the U.S. manufacturing data.
    Traders were also awaiting Friday's U.S. payrolls data.
    The euro's gains versus the greenback remained capped by
talk the European Central Bank, which meets on Thursday, may
have to cut interest rates again in coming months to keep
deflation at bay.
    The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.3793.
    The yen, another traditional safe haven, slipped to a
four-week low against the dollar. It was last down 0.4
percent at 103.57 per dollar.
    Among commodities, Brent crude tumbled 2.4 percent
to $105.15 a barrel weighed by the Chinese data and on the
possibility of a jump in supplies from Libya after rebels
blocking eastern oil ports hinted at a deal with Tripoli. U.S.
crude was down 2.2 percent to $99.37 a barrel, pressured
by expectations for a build in domestic inventories.
    "With the disappointing economic numbers out of China and
the inventory build, we're driving lower until Friday when we
get the next (U.S.) employment numbers," said Gene McGillian, an
analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
    Spot gold, one of this year's surprise star
performers after a 2013 slump, hit a seven-week low of $1,277.29
per ounce. It was recently down 0.3 percent at $1,279.85. The
price is still up more than 6 percent year-to-date.

 (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Ryan
Vlastelica, Sam Forgione, Elizabeth Dilts and Michael Connor;
Editing by Leslie Adler)

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