* U.S. stocks rise, record highs in sight
* Traders eye speech by Fed's Yellen
* Italy's Monte dei Paschi bank shares fall 10 percent
* Turkish lira, Russian rouble fall on killing of Russian
(Updates to afternoon trading, adds quotes, data)
By Dion Rabouin
NEW YORK, Dec 19 Global stock markets added to
gains after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sounded an
optimistic tone about the U.S. labor market on Monday, weighing
on safe-haven assets like the Japanese yen and U.S. Treasuries
that had risen after the shooting death of Russia's ambassador
U.S. stocks initially slipped after the release of Yellen's
prepared speech to graduates of the University of Baltimore, but
then added to earlier gains.
Wall Street hit record highs last week as investors piled on
bets that the anticipated fiscal boost from the incoming
administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump would
support riskier assets.
That trend continued Monday with U.S. equities driven higher
by Yellen's rosy outlook and a rise in technology and telecom
stocks in a low-volume environment analysts said was typical of
the last full trading week of the year.
"Traditionally, as you head into the week before Christmas,
you see volumes slow down and a somewhat trendless market as
people begin to position their portfolios for next year," said
Matt Jones, U.S. head of equity strategy at J.P. Morgan Private
Bank in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 58.81 points,
or 0.3 percent, to 19,902.22, the S&P 500 gained 6.61
points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,264.68 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 28.68 points, or 0.53 percent, to 5,465.84.
The dollar edged back into positive territory after
the release of Yellen's remarks, eyeing a 14-year high against a
basket of currencies touched last week.
The Turkish lira and Russian rouble fell to session lows
against the greenback on news the Russian ambassador to Turkey
was killed in a gun attack at an art gallery in the Turkish
capital of Ankara.
The lira was last down about 0.6 percent at 3.525 per
dollar while the rouble hit a session low of 62.045 per
dollar before retracing to 61.854, according to Reuters data.
The safe-haven Japanese yen added to gains after the report
of the ambassador being shot, rising more than 1 percent against
the dollar. However, it retraced much of those gains
after Yellen's remarks.
"It seems like she is acknowledging the continued
improvement in the jobs market. That's pretty consistent with
what she and other policymakers have been saying," said Eric
Viloria, currency strategist at Wells Fargo Securities in New
U.S. Treasury prices pared gains after surging higher
following the news from Turkey.
The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries, which
moves inversely to the note's price, was last 2.55 percent,
pushing up from the day's lows.
Europe's index of 300 leading shares retreated from
Friday's 11-month high and fell 0.09 percent. Germany's DAX
index rose 0.2 percent while France's CAC
slipped 0.22 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.08
Japan's Nikkei stock index, which has benefited from
the yen's sharp fall against the dollar, snapped its nine-day
winning streak, edging down from Friday's one-year high.
MSCI's all-country world index that tracks
stock markets around the globe rose 0.15 percent.
Oil prices were mixed but held around $55 per barrel, with
little news to influence the market.
Brent futures fell 0.5 percent to $54.90 a barrel,
while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.4 percent
(Reporting by Dion Rabouin; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)