(Adds opening of U.S. markets, changes dateline, previous LONDON)
* ECB cash lifts investor sentiment in Europe
* U.S. data, while tepid, offers fresh encouragement
* Business surveys point to stagnation in euro zone economy
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. and European stocks rose on Thursday, lifted by more encouraging U.S. economic data and a massive injection of cash by the European Central Bank, while crude oil rose on the demand outlook and potential supply disruptions related to Iran.
U.S. stocks opened higher despite news that Americans filed fewer new claims for jobless benefits last week. But consumer spending was flat in January for the third straight month after accounting for inflation, clouding the economic outlook.
European stocks rose almost 1 percent, led by bank shares benefiting from the ECB’s latest liquidity boost. A dip in Spanish borrowing costs fueled hopes the worst of the euro zone crisis is over.
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 Dow Jones industrial average was up 32.20 points, or 0.25 percent, at 12,984.27. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 4.11 points, or 0.30 percent, at 1,369.79. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10.96 points, or 0.37 percent, at 2,977.88.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares rose almost 1 percent to 1,085.49 points.
The euro fell to a one-week low against the dollar on rising risk aversion after the U.S. government said spending rose 0.2 percent in January, just below analysts expectations.
The euro had already 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.
The U.S. data only cemented the euro’s losses.
The euro was down 0.10 percent at $1.3311, while the U.S. dollar index was up 0.09 percent at 78.81.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 20/32 in price to yield 2.04 percent.
U.S. light sweet crude oil rose 64 cents to $107.71 a barrel. (Reporting By Herbert Lash; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)