August 13, 2014 / 5:26 PM / 3 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks rise on hopes of conflicts cooling; copper slides

* Brazilian presidential candidate dies in jet crash

* Copper falls more than 1 pct after Chinese data

* Sterling hits 4-month low vs U.S. dollar (Updates prices, comment)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Aug 13 (Reuters) - A global gauge of stock markets rose on Wednesday as investors were cautiously optimistic about a possible de-escalation of the conflict in the Russia-Ukraine border, while Brazilian markets were shaken by the death of presidential candidate Eduardo Campos in a plane crash.

Copper, a barometer for global economic growth, fell more than 1 percent to a seven-week low.

Investor anxiety over the standoff between Russia and Ukraine ebbed slightly after Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said late on Tuesday that the possibility of Russia’s military invading eastern Ukraine had receded after Moscow agreed to send in humanitarian aid under Red Cross auspices.

Still, Ukraine denounced the convoy as an act of Russian cynicism and said it would not be allowed to cross the border.

“The market seems comfortable with what’s going on abroad, and while there’s always a risk of escalation, which would give the market pause, trying to anticipate that is pure speculation,” said David Lebovitz, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds in New York.

“Focusing on fundamentals has us viewing any weakness as a buying opportunity,” he added.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 84.52 points, or 0.51 percent, at 16,645.06. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 12.01 points, or 0.62 percent, at 1,945.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 38.64 points, or 0.88 percent, at 4,427.90.

European shares rose, helped in part by forecast-beating results from bellwethers such as Swiss Life and E.ON . The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares rose 0.4 percent, with MSCI’s world stock index up 0.5 percent.

Brazil’s Bovespa index fell as much as 2.1 percent after news that presidential candidate Eduardo Campos was killed in a plane crash in the southeastern city of Santos.

Campos, a former ally of President Dilma Rousseff, positioned himself as a business-friendly leftist and was third in polls with about 10 percent of voter support.

The Brazilian currency also weakened to as much as 2.2880 per dollar, before trading little changed on the day at 2.2748.

In other currency markets, sterling fell 0.7 percent against the U.S. dollar to a four-month low of $1.6685 after the Bank of England slashed its forecast for wage growth, prompting investors to push back expectations of when interest rates would rise.

But the euro rose against the greenback to as much as $1.3415 following data showing U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in July, pointing to some loss of momentum.

“The (retail sales) report draws a picture of weaker consumer spending in the third quarter. That plays into expectations the Fed will be in no hurry to raise interest rates,” said Sireen Haraji, currency strategist at Mizuho Corporate Bank in New York.

The euro was little changed at $1.3372.

U.S. Treasury debt yields fell after the soft retail sales data, as traders bet on more support from the U.S. central bank.

“The knee-jerk reaction to the retail sales data was a disappointment” said Craig Dismuke, chief economic strategist at Vining Sparks in Memphis, Tennessee.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was up 7/32 in price, its yield down to 2.4166 percent.

German 10-year yields fell 3 basis points to 1.03 percent, having hit a record low of 1.02 percent last week.


Copper, seen as a barometer of global growth, fell to a seven-week low below $6,874 per tonne, dragged down by soft data on China’s property sector, which raised concerns about the outlook for the metal used in power and construction. It was last down 1.1 percent at $6,886.

September Brent crude futures, which expire on Thursday, fell as low as $102.37, the weakest for a front-month price since July 1, 2013, before bouncing 0.7 percent higher on the day at $103.75.

The outlook, however, continues to be bearish.

OPEC output rose to a five-month high of 30.44 million barrels per day in July as increased production from Saudi Arabia and Libya more than offset declines in Iraq, Iran and Nigeria.

“Brent prices have been in a steady decline and I think the background of that is that the market is forming the view that any supply disruptions are not on the immediate horizon,” CMC Markets Chief Market Analyst Ric Spooner said.

U.S. crude was down 11 cents at $97.26.

Markets continued to keep an eye on Iraq, where the new prime minister-designate got support from Shi‘ite militia and army commanders previously loyal to Nuri al-Maliki, who has refused to step aside. The support of the army commanders may signal reduced likelihood the country would descend further into violence. (Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica, Richard Leong, Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and David Sheppard in London; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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