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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks advance in choppy trade; oil climbs
February 2, 2015 / 8:17 PM / 3 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks advance in choppy trade; oil climbs

* U.S. stocks up as oil rebounds

* Italy, Spain fall on Greece concerns, austerity issues

* Euro zone data shows slight growth in January (Adds oil settlement prices)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Global equity markets advanced modestly 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 settled up 2.76 percent at $49.57 a barrel while Brent settled up 3.32 percent at $54.75.

“A few disappointing economic numbers; oil prices I think have started to find a bit of a bottom - that’s a plus going forward - and we are starting to look at the earnings reports seeing some negative impact from the stronger dollar,” said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

“It’s too hard to find a direction right now.”

The S&P 500 is still down more than 4 percent from its record high set on Dec. 29, pulled lower by a lackluster earnings season and data showing a U.S. 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 0.5 percent. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed up 0.2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 51.89 points, or 0.30 percent, at 17,216.84. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 9.41 points, or 0.47 percent, at 2,004.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.14 points, or 0.09 percent, at 4,639.38.

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 3/32, the yield at 1.6692 percent.

Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Dan Grebler

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