January 16, 2019 / 9:37 PM / 9 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. stocks hit one-month high on bank results; pound up on UK PM confidence vote

(New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments to U.S. markets close)

* U.S. stocks hit one-month highs

* Earnings from Bank of American and Goldman Sachs upbeat

* Sterling up against dollar after May wins confidence vote

* U.S. crude ends up 0.4 percent

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - World stock markets rose on Wednesday, with Wall Street's major indexes hitting one-month highs after strong earnings from Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs, while the pound rose after British Prime Minister Theresa May's government won a confidence vote in parliament.

May can now try to build consensus on an agreement on Britain's departure from the European Union. The confidence vote followed the parliamentary defeat of May's Brexit deal late Tuesday.

Hopes for a softer Brexit, perhaps incorporating the Labour Party's idea of a customs union, gave some support to the pound.

"Sterling has jumped on the back of this because now we are looking at the possibilities of other parties coming to Theresa May and work with her on the issue of Brexit. The future path will be very much dependent on the promises she makes with cross parties," Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK Ltd in London, wrote in a note following the vote.

Sterling was last trading at $1.2877, up 0.15 percent on the day.

Stocks held their gains following the vote. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.18 percent.

On Wall Street, results from Bank of America and Goldman Sachs eased worries about the earnings outlook and helped to support stocks. Bank of America shares were up 7.2 percent while Goldman's stock was up 9.5 percent.

"It's still way early, but so far the tone has been good," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

"The fact that the banks are a little more sensitive certainly to interest rates and the yield curve and business activity, it gives a decent read on the economy."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 141.57 points, or 0.59 percent, to 24,207.16, the S&P 500 gained 5.8 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,616.1 and the Nasdaq Composite added 10.86 points, or 0.15 percent, to 7,034.69.

Investors also digested a Wall Street Journal report that federal prosecutors are investigating Huawei Technologies, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, for allegedly stealing trade secrets from U.S. businesses and could soon issue an indictment.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.54 percent.

The dollar rose against the euro as the euro zone single currency was pushed lower by worries about the zone's economy, with the euro down 0.18 percent to $1.1393.

Data this week showed Germany barely escaped a recession in the second half of 2018. On Tuesday, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi warned the euro zone economy was weaker than anticipated.

U.S. Treasury yields climbed as the confidence vote and stock market gains reduced safety bids on the bond market.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 6/32 in price to yield 2.7272 percent, from 2.708 percent late on Tuesday.

Oil prices also gained, boosted by the U.S. equity market rally and a supply cut agreement by OPEC+.

Brent crude futures rose 68 cents to settle at $61.32 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 20 cents to settle at $52.31 a barrel.

For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets, please click on:

Additional reporting by Tom Wilson in London Editing by James Dalgleish and David Gregorio

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