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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks edge up in choppy trade, oil bounces
February 2, 2015 / 6:37 PM / 3 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks edge up in choppy trade, oil bounces

* U.S. stocks up as oil rebounds

* Italy, Spain fall on Greece concerns, austerity issues

* Euro zone data shows slight growth in January (Adds quote, updates prices)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Global equity markets were modestly higher in mixed trade on Monday as disappointing data held U.S. stocks in check, while a rebound in oil prices lent some support.

U.S. economic data showed consumer spending fell and construction spending rose less than expected in December, while an industry report pointed to slowing in the manufacturing sector in January.

Crude oil prices rose to build on a rally in the prior session, but gains were capped by expectations of more supply. U.S. crude gained 3 percent to $49.66 while Brent gained 3 percent to $54.51.

"The ecodata was mixed, kind of signaling some concern but nothing that is catching anyone by surprise," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.

"They are going to make a positive out of the energy story, that kind of gives an overall better tone to the market."

The S&P 500 is still down nearly 5 percent from its record high set on Dec. 29, pulled lower by a lackluster earnings season and data showing an economy growing at a slower pace than investors had been anticipating.

Stocks in Europe were mixed, with declines in Spanish and Italian shares as Greece seeks to end its existing debt deal and data pointed to weak January growth in euro zone factory activity. Spain and Italy have seen a rise in popularity of anti-austerity parties.

On Saturday, tens of thousands marched in Madrid in the biggest show of support yet for Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos, whose policies have drawn comparisons with the Syriza party that now governs Greece.

Greece's leftist government began its drive to persuade a skeptical Europe to accept a new debt agreement. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis met his British counterpart George Osborne on Monday.

MSCI's all-country world stock index, a measure of stock performance in 45 countries, rose 0.3 percent. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed up 0.2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 19.43 points, or 0.11 percent, at 17,184.38. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 4.92 points, or 0.25 percent, at 1,999.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.79 points, or 0.06 percent, at 4,632.45.

The dollar weakened in the wake of the data, with the U.S. dollar index last off 0.3 percent. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 2/32, the yield at 1.6726 percent.

Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Dan Grebler

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