* World shares rise as U.S., Chinese trade data beats
* Yen gains sharply, Draghi's comments weigh on euro
* Oil rises toward $119 a barrel on China data, Mideast
By Herbert Lash and Wanfeng Zhou
NEW YORK, Feb 8 Strong economic data lifted
global equity markets and drove the S&P 500 to a five-year high
on Friday, while the yen jumped after Japan's finance minister
said the currency's recent drop had gone too far, too fast.
Brent crude oil rose to a nine-month high near $119 a barrel
and copper prices advanced for the first time in four days as
robust Chinese data signaled improving global growth prospects
and boosted the outlook for commodities demand.
China's exports and imports surged and new lending soared in
January, while German data showed a 2012 surplus that was the
nation's second-highest in more than 60 years, an indication of
the underlying strength of Europe's biggest economy.
A report showing the U.S. trade gap fell to its narrowest in
nearly three years in December helped support stock and
commodity markets. The narrower trade gap suggested the U.S.
economy did much better in the fourth quarter than initially
"A potential soft landing in China continues to underpin the
bullish argument, so supportive trade data from China is watched
closely. The positive surprise in the U.S. trade data, while
subject to a large noise factor, is another scrap of positive
news for the bullish contingent to latch onto in the quest for
Dow 14,000," said Troy Buckner, managing partner at hedge fund
NuWave Investment Management LLC in Parsippany, New Jersey.
MSCI's all-country world equity index rose
0.4 percent to 355.45, while shares in Europe rebounded 1.2
percent after a fall on Thursday wiped out the year's gains.
U.S. stocks edged higher. The benchmark S&P 500, up
more than 6 percent for the year, is on track for six straight
weeks of gains for the first time since August 2012.
But an advance has been tougher in recent days as investors
await incentives to drive the index further upward.
"The rally is definitely slowing down. We might see a record
but we do need a bit of correction before going there," said
Randy Frederick, director of trading and derivatives at Charles
Schwab. "We've been in this 1,516 level (for the S&P 500) for
the sixth straight session and need to break above to really
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 48.78 points,
or 0.35 percent, to 13,992.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 7.70 points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,517.09. The
Nasdaq Composite Index added 31.04 points, or 0.98
percent, to 3,196.17.
The yen, which fell to its low against the euro since April
2010 and the lowest against the dollar since May 2010 on
Wednesday, got a boost from Finance Minister Taro Aso's comments
that the currency's slide from 78 to 90 per dollar was steeper
Doubts also rose on whether the next governor of the Bank of
Japan will ease policy aggressively after a Reuters report said
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces opposition from within
his own cabinet and financial bureaucrats to appoint a new BoJ
governor who will pursue aggressive easing policies.
The dollar fell 0.8 percent to 92.83 yen. The euro
lost 1.1 percent to 124.07 yen, and against the
dollar, the euro slipped 0.3 percent to $1.3361.
Comments from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on
Thursday that the exchange rate is important for growth and
price stability were perceived by investors as a sign the bank
is concerned about the euro's recent advance and weighed on the
"Central bank and government officials from around the world
have given FX markets the gift of volatility this year," said
Win Thin, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman
in New York.
"Yesterday, it was ECB President Draghi's second press
conference in a row that caught markets by surprise. Today, it
was Japan Finance Minister Aso's turn, as he apparently told
reporters that the recent pace of yen weakness has been too
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 3/32, the
yield at 1.9697 percent. Prices erased some of
Thursday's gains after stocks jumped and as investors prepared
for $72 billion in new supply next week.
Brent gained $1.53 to $118.77 a barrel, but U.S.
crude futures fell 10 cents to $95.73.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was
$8,245 a tonne after hitting a session high of $8,253.