April 1, 2014 / 3:07 AM / 3 years ago

India Morning Call-Global Markets

EQUITIES

NEW YORK - U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the S&P 500 ending both March and the first quarter of 2014 with moderate gains, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen relieved concerns about a rate hike coming earlier than expected.

This was the fifth straight quarterly rise for both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, though it was the smallest three-month advance for both since the fourth quarter of 2012. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 rose for a second straight month in March.

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LONDON - Babcock was the star performer among Britain's top shares on Monday as a nuclear contract win helped it outperform a lacklustre showing on the broader blue-chip index, which suffered its first quarterly drop since June.

The British benchmark ended down 17.21 points, or 0.3 percent, at 6,598.37 points, after a see-saw session which saw it trade between 6,583-6,658, leaving it down 2.2 percent for the year on the last day of the first quarter.

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TOKYO - Japan's Nikkei share average was choppy on Tuesday morning, with buying crimped by a sombre business confidence survey and losses in utilities on a report that Hokkaido Electric Power Co will get a capital infusion from a state-owned lender.

The benchmark Nikkei added 0.2 percent to 14,850.01 in mid-morning trade after moving in and out of the red during the session. The index rose 0.9 percent to a three-week high on the previous day.

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HONG KONG - Hang Seng Index set to open up 0.6 percent. China Merchants Holdings shares slide as much as 6.8 percent on plan to sell $2 bln worth of convertible securities.

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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

SYDNEY - The yen stayed on the backfoot early on Tuesday, while the dollar dipped slightly after the head of the Federal Reserve took pains to defend the central bank's ultra-loose policy settings.

The dollar index stood at 80.100, having retreated from a near two-week high of 80.296. Against the yen though, the greenback traded at 103.23, holding on to most of the gains that sent it to a three-week high of 103.44.

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TREASURIES

NEW YORK - Longer-dated U.S. Treasuries yields edged higher on Monday on expectations for an upbeat U.S. jobs report on Friday, while intermediate-dated notes stabilized after dovish remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

The potential for a stronger-than-expected employment report spurred some selling of 30-year Treasury bonds, which fell over 1 percentage point in price before trimming losses. Employers are expected to have added 195,000 jobs in March, according to the median estimate of economists polled by Reuters, up from 175,000 in February.

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COMMODITIES

GOLD

SINGAPORE - Gold was languishing near a seven-week low on Tuesday, after posting its first monthly drop of the year, as investors pulled money out of bullion backed exchange-traded funds in favour of riskier assets.

Spot gold eased 0.05 percent to $1,282.95 an ounce by 0025 GMT, after dropping nearly 1 percent on Monday. The metal hit a low of $1,282.04 in the previous session - its lowest since Feb. 11.

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BASE METALS

SINGAPORE - London copper gained for a third session in four on Tuesday to trade near three-week highs, after improved data on China's manufacturing sector helped calm worries over the state of the world's No. 2 economy and top copper user.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had risen 0.3 percent to $6,659 a tonne by 0119 GMT. The metal touched $6,686 on Monday - its highest since March 11.

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OIL

NEW YORK - Crude futures dipped in volatile end-of-quarter trading on Monday, pulled off highs by news Russia was withdrawing some troops on the Ukrainian border and concerns about the struggling U.S. labor market voiced by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

"Any sign that tensions might ease in the Russia-Ukraine situation is going to be bearish," Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, said.

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