* World shares gain 2 pct on hopes for 'fiscal cliff'
* Oil over $111 a barrel as Middle East tension adds support
* Dollar touches seven-month high vs yen
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Nov 19 World stock markets and
commodities surged on Monday, recovering some of the previous
week's sharp losses as traders focused on politicians' comments
indicating readiness to compromise to avoid the U.S. "fiscal
Wall Street stocks climbed almost 2 percent, extending a
rally that began on Friday, while crude oil was up almost 3
percent. The S&P 500 closed above its 200-day moving average for
the first time in the past eight sessions.
U.S. lawmakers indicated compromises were possible in
negotiations to avert $600 billion in tax increases and spending
cuts due to start in January - the "fiscal cliff" that threatens
to send the U.S. economy back into recession.
Legislators from both parties have indicated in recent days
compromise was possible on key issues like raising tax rates for
wealthy individuals, which previously seemed unlikely.
MSCI's world equity index jumped 2 percent,
more than erasing the 1.8 percent drop it posted last week.
Monday was the best day for the index since July 27.
"At this point, we haven't seen any of the details, so we're
still a bit cautious but optimistic that we will see an
agreement reached some time," said Joseph Tanious, global market
strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds in New York. "It's become fairly
clear that both sides of the aisle are wiling to compromise and
want to negotiate."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 207.65
points, or 1.65 percent, at 12,795.96. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 27.01 points, or 1.99 percent, at 1,386.89.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 62.94 points, or 2.21
percent, at 2,916.07.
Optimism in Europe over the prospects of a deal this week to
release much-needed aid for Greece also lent support.
European officials are expected to discuss a two-year
funding plan for Athens at a meeting on Tuesday, which would
postpone any longer-term solution until after a September 2013
German general election.
European Central Bank policymaker Joerg Asmussen said at the
weekend that the ministers were likely to agree to the deal and
leave resolution of a longer-term debt stabilization plan for
Greece, which is at the heart of a disagreement with the IMF,
The euro rose 0.5 percent to $1.28, well above the
two-month low of $1.2661 hit last week and near the top end of
its recent range, suggesting the foreign exchange market expects
an agreement on Greece.
"This message from the ECB would tell me that, yes, what we
are heading to this week is an agreement that would keep Greece
out of trouble for the next year or so," said Gilles Moec,
senior European economist at Deutsche Bank.
European share markets rebounded from last week's lows,
mainly on growing optimism over U.S. political negotiations.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of top European shares
closed 2.3 percent higher, led by sectors tied to the pace of
economic growth. Banks climbed 3.6 percent, with U.S.
shares of Barclays up 5.8 percent to $15.85.
In the region's main centers, London's FTSE 100, was
up 2.4 percent, with Frankfurt's DAX up 2.5 percent and
Paris' CAC-40 gaining 2.9 percent.
Safe-haven bond markets reflected the stronger risk
appetite, with the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note
down 8/32 in price to yield 1.6114 percent.
The 10-year German government bond fell in price, sending
its yield to 1.358 percent from 1.326 percent on
Friday. Traders saw room for yields to rise if euro zone
policymakers reached an agreement at their meeting on Tuesday.
In currency trading, the dollar briefly extended gains
against the yen on expectations a new Japanese government will
push the central bank to taking aggressive monetary stimulus
measures to boost growth after next month's elections.
The greenback was slightly higher against the yen at
81.38 yen after rising to its highest since April 25.
The Bank of Japan began a two-day meeting on Monday but was
not expected to take any new policy steps before the Dec. 16
The rising hopes of a deal on closing the U.S. budget gap,
which has clouded the outlook for global growth, spread through
commodity markets, lifting oil, copper and gold.
Copper rallied 2.3 percent to $7,803.75 a ton on the London
Metal Exchange, and gold rose $18.11 to $1,731.6
A 0.5 percent drop in the dollar index, which had
eased from a two-month high hit on Friday, added to demand by
making commodities priced in the greenback more affordable for
buyers holding other currencies.
Brent crude rose above $111 a barrel as the escalating
violence between Israel and the Palestinians fueled concern
about supplies from the Middle East.
Investors fear the conflict may draw in other countries and
possibly disrupt energy exports from the region, which supplies
more than a third of the world's crude.
Brent crude for January delivery was up 2.5 percent
and U.S. crude futures added 2.6 percent.