March 1, 2012 / 8:51 PM / 6 years ago

CORRECTED-GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, oil rise on data, ECB cash injection

 (Corrects ticker symbol of UniCredit in paragraph 16)	
 * U.S. stocks advance, data feeds momentum
 * ECB cash injection lifts sentiment, boosts banks
 * U.S. data, while tepid, gives fresh encouragement
 * Brent crude jumps more than $4 to almost $127
 By Herbert Lash	
 NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) - Global stocks rose on
Thursday as investors zeroed in on encouraging economic data in
hopes the equities rally would  advance, while crude oil surged
on signs of stronger fuel demand and worries over supply
disruptions related to Iran.	
 The European Central Bank's second massive injection of cash
also buoyed sentiment in equity markets, lifting European shares
more than 1 percent and removing the fear of a meltdown in the
banking sector that had cast a pall over debt markets. 	
 "They are on the right road, which means that the risks
associated with Europe are starting to abate. And that's really
good news," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Hugh
Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York.	
 U.S. stocks recouped losses from Wednesday, after the latest
data on jobless claims bolstered views of an improving American
labor market and solid monthly sales from retailers bolstered
investor sentiment.	
 Gains were muted due to fears that other data signaling
slower growth will keep this year's rally, which has pushed
major stock indexes to multi-year highs, from climbing much
further. 	
 U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly cooled in February, and
consumer spending was flat in January for a third straight month
after accounting for inflation, casting doubts on the strength
of the recovery. 	
In oil markets, Brent crude rose above $126 a barrel as the
data indicating strength in the U.S. economy and Chinese data
showing stronger-than-expected factory growth in February drove
expectations of strong demand for oil.	
 The ongoing concerns about disruptions of Iranian oil
supplies -- already being reduced in the wake of Western
sanctions against Tehran for its disputed nuclear program -- 
added support. 	
 Brent crude rose $4.10 to $126.76 a barrel. U.S. oil
 settled up $1.77 at $108.84 per barrel.	
 On Wall Street investors said that the 13,000 level on the
Dow, which was breached on Monday for the first time since May
2008, represented a major psychological barrier for stocks to
move ahead.	
 "A lot of the guys on the floor are sensing -- barring some
significant event, whether that be geopolitical or relating to
the European debt crisis -- we could potentially at some point
just explode through," Gordon Charlop, managing director at
Rosenblatt Securities in New York.	
 The Dow Jones industrial average was up 35.76 points,
or 0.28 percent, at 12,987.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index 
 was up 9.02 points, or 0.66 percent, at 1,374.70. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 26.53 points, or 0.89
percent, at 2,993.42. 	
 Also supporting gains on Thursday, major U.S. automakers
posted stronger sales in February. 	
 Shares of Ford Motor Co rose 2.7 percent, and shares
of General Motors rose 2.0 percent.	
 Euro zone bank shares rose 2.6 percent after French
and Spanish government borrowing costs fell at auctions and
yields on Italian notes dropped on the secondary market, 
following the ECB's cash injection on Wednesday. 
 	
Italian banks, which own the lion's share of the country's
debt, led gainers with Banco Popolare rising 10.5
percent and UniCredit up 5.8 percent.  	
 The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares
ended 1.1 percent higher at 1,086.72 points. 	
"The funding risk in the banking system has reduced
substantially," Dennis Jose, strategist at Barclays Capital,
said. "The risk the sovereign having to eventually bail out the
banks has also reduced" with the ECB's liquidity measure.	
 But gains were limited as key benchmark indexes in Europe
and on Wall Street failed to convincingly break above major
resistance levels as a brisk 2-1/2-month rally loses steam.	
 The euro was fell slightly in volatile trading after falling
to a one-week low on initial concerns over U.S. economic data.	
 The euro was down slightly 0.1 percent at $1.3312.	
 Remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had little
impact on the market. Bernanke said he was worried that the
rapid decline in U.S. unemployment may not be sustained. 	
 Bernanke's prepared remarks on Thursday were mostly a repeat
of the prior day's testimony, when he stopped short of signaling
a further easing of monetary policy, which some in the market
had expected.	
 The euro had been weak before New York opened, after the
ECB's huge cash injection reminded investors of the region's
debt overhang and the fragile euro zone economy. 	
 U.S. Treasury debt prices fell as some investors pushed back
the timing of another potential round of easing by the Fed, and
riskier assets did better at the expense of safe-haven U.S.
debt.	
 U.S. Treasuries prices briefly pared early losses after the
Institute for Supply Management said its index of U.S. factory
activity fell to 52.4 from 54.1 the month before. The reading
was shy of expectations of 54.5, according to a Reuters poll of
economists. A reading above the 50 mark indicates expansion.	
 Benchmark 10-year notes were off 17/32 in price
to yield 2.03 percent.	
	
 (Additional reporting by Ellen Freilich, Chuck Mikolajczak and
Nick Olivari; Editing by Leslie Adler and Andrea Evans)	
 

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