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GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares gain on US jobs data, euro rises after ECB
March 7, 2013 / 4:28 PM / 5 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares gain on US jobs data, euro rises after ECB

* Equities rise after encouraging U.S. labor market report

* Euro rises after ECB president gives no hint of further easing

* Brent oil rebounds after U.S. economic data

* Bonds slip as safe-haven appeal recedes

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - Global equity markets rose on Thursday after an encouraging U.S. weekly labor market report suggested a steadily improving economy, while the euro strengthened after the European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a pick-up in the labor market recovery and economic growth.

Equities on Wall Street rose on the labor report, but European shares pared their gains when ECB President Mario Draghi was non-committal as to whether he felt equity markets were fairly priced at current lofty levels.

MSCI’s all-country world stock index eased from a new intraday high for the year of 359.47, up 0.11 percent.

The Dow hit an intraday record for the third session in a row, climbing as high as 14,344.95 after initially breaking into uncharted territory on Tuesday. The broader S&P 500 remains more than 1 percent below its record close set in October 2007.

“It’s certainly welcoming to the market and it’s once again supporting the thought that the economic recovery is strengthening despite the stalemate in budget talks, etc,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. LLC in New York.

Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Services Inc in Troy, Michigan, said the declining number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits was an encouraging sign for the economy.

The number of Americans filing initial claims for those benefits unexpectedly fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week, suggesting an improving labor market.

“It shows now that we have a few consecutive weeks where new claims are at this lower trend; it’s very encouraging for labor market conditions currently and going forward,” Price said.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 44.88 points, or 0.31 percent, at 14,341.12. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 1.81 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,543.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 2.76 points, or 0.09 percent, at 3,225.13.

The euro was up 0.9 percent on the day at $1.3083. The session peak of $1.3116 marked a five-day high.

The ECB and the Bank of England kept interest rates on hold, as expected.

Prices for U.S. Treasuries slid as a second straight day of better-than-expected labor market data boosted appetite for riskier assets.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes slid 14/32 in price to yield 1.986 percent.

Oil hovered near break-even at about $111 a barrel as the ECB gave no strong hint about monetary policy easing in the months ahead and on the better-than-expected U.S. jobs data.

Brent crude fell 11 cents at $110.95 a barrel. U.S. WTI crude futures rose 93 cents to $91.36.

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