* Euro falls on weak German, Spanish inflation numbers
* U.S. crude rises to trade above $50
* S&P 500 hits highest level in seven sessions
(Updates with U.S. markets, changes comment, dateline from
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 30 Equities in key world markets
edged higher on Thursday, supported by an advance in U.S. crude
to trade above $50 per barrel for the first time in three weeks,
while stocks on Wall Street also got a lift from growth data.
The euro slipped after data showed easing inflation in Spain
and Germany, paring back bets on tighter policy from the
European Central Bank.
Oil prices rose after Kuwait gave its backing for an
extension of OPEC production cuts in an attempt to reduce global
"There is a significant chance that a short-to-medium-term
bottom has been found," said Tamas Varga, analyst at London
brokerage PVM Oil Associates.
U.S. crude last rose 1.6 percent to $50.30 a barrel
and Brent traded at $52.92, up 1.0 percent on the day.
Banks and energy led U.S. stocks higher as oil prices rose
and gross domestic product increased at a 2.1 percent annualized
rate instead of the previously reported 1.9 percent pace. Growth
in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of
U.S. economic activity, was revised up.
Much of the move in U.S. stocks, which drove them to record
highs earlier this month, is predicated on the Trump
administration's commitment to return to a 4 percent economic
Failure last week to pass a major campaign promise to revamp
U.S. healthcare called into question Trump's ability to deliver
a tax reform even if his party controls the two chambers of
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 56.07 points,
or 0.27 percent, to 20,715.39, the S&P 500 gained 5.4
points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,366.53 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 6.08 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,903.63.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was at its highest in seven
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.47
percent, underpinned by a rise in oil stocks. MSCI's gauge of
stocks across the globe rose 0.08 percent.
Emerging market stocks fell 0.21 percent.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
closed less than 0.1 percent lower while Japan's
Nikkei dropped 0.8 percent.
GREENBACK GAINS FURTHER
The dollar index ticked up 0.14 percent with the euro
down 0.39 percent to $1.0724, weakened by the inflation data.
The soft inflation numbers compounded a Reuters report on
Wednesday citing sources close to the ECB who said officials
there were unhappy with a shift in market expectations toward
tighter monetary policy and higher euro zone interest rates.
"That sort of off-the-record briefing that came through
(Wednesday) and German inflation this morning do seem to have
pulled the rug from under the euro," said Nick Parsons, a
strategist with National Australia Bank in London.
Sterling bounced from a one-week low of $1.2375 hit
Wednesday, and was last trading at $1.2489, up 0.46
percent on the day.
The dollar index briefly turned lower earlier after a CNBC
report said the Trump administration is "assessing the scope of
its power to penalize countries whose currencies it believes are
The report provided no details about how the administration
would do this.
Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields rose slightly with support of
the GDP data. Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 7/32
in price to yield 2.4125 percent.
Spot gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,247.96 an ounce.
U.S. gold futures fell 0.5 percent to $1,247.40 an
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by
Christopher Johnson in London and Dion Rabouin & Gertrude
Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)