NEW YORK World stock indexes rose and the euro leaped against the dollar on Monday as investors cheered exit poll results from Italy's weekend election that showed the pro-reform Democratic Party was in the lead.
U.S. Treasury yields also rose.
Exit polls issued after voting closed in Italy's parliamentary election showed the center-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani was leading Silvio Berlusconi's center-right bloc.
"All indications are that there will be no large surprises in the elections," said Tom Tucci, head of Treasuries trading at CIBC in New York.
The outcome of the election are expected to hold the key to whether the country's current reform program will continue uninterrupted.
Italian shares rallied and bonds gained. Italy's main FTSE MIB stock market index was up 3.4 percent.
The MSCI world equity index gained as much as 0.7 percent before pulling back slightly after three consecutive weekly losses as evidence of sluggish global growth mounted.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 31.57 points, or 0.23 percent, at 14,032.14. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 3.08 points, or 0.20 percent, at 1,518.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 12.12 points, or 0.38 percent, at 3,173.94.
The euro last traded at $1.3286, up 0.7 percent on the day. It hit a global session high of $1.3318 earlier in the session.
Earlier, the yen hit a 33-month low against the dollar on higher prospects of unprecedented monetary easing in Japan.
Investors also are looking ahead to testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday, in which he is expected to downplay the idea that the central bank could prematurely end its current massive monthly bond-buying program.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 2/32, the yield at 1.967 percent.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch, with additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York and Richard Hubbard in London; Editing by Will Waterman and Dan Grebler)
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