December 19, 2019 / 8:31 PM / a month ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Bond yields rise as Sweden ends negative rates, stocks gain

(Adds oil, gold settlement prices)

* Sweden ends five years of negative interest rates

* European bond yields rise, while dollar is mostly flat

* Wall Street, MSCI stock gauge grind to records

* Oil prices hover near three-month highs

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Global equity markets extended a rally on Thursday that has pushed U.S. and world stock benchmarks to record highs, while bond yields in Europe rose after Sweden stopped five years of negative interest rates, signaling the end of a sub-zero era.

Gold was little changed and the dollar was roughly flat as investors awaited U.S. gross domestic product data on Friday and investors shrugged off a report showing U.S. factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region has nearly stalled this month.

Stocks rose as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States and China would sign their phase one trade pact at the beginning of January. Mnuchin said it was completely finished and just undergoing a technical "scrub."

The market shrugged off U.S. President Donald Trump's impeachment, as the Republican-controlled Senate is widely expected to vote against removing him from office.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the world gained 0.18%, lifting the global benchmark to a new record, while the three major equity indices on Wall Street also hit fresh highs.

U.S. stocks will maintain an upward bias until the start of 2020, when investors will look for more specific details in the trade agreement, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 122.58 points, or 0.43%, to 28,361.86. The S&P 500 gained 13.22 points, or 0.41%, to 3,204.36 and the Nasdaq Composite added 51.53 points, or 0.58%, to 8,879.27.

Stocks in Europe also edged higher. The pan-regional STOXX 600 index rose 0.17%, and the blue-chip FTSEurofirst 300 index of regional shares closed up 0.14%.

Earlier in Asia, stocks pulled back from a 1-1/2 year peak. Japan's Nikkei fell 0.3% and China's stocks slipped for the second session despite trade optimism.

Sweden's Riksbank raised benchmark borrowing costs to zero from -0.25%, making the central bank the first of those around the world that had cut rates into negative territory to inch its way back to zero - long considered their floor.

Bond yields rose across the euro zone, with those in higher-rated countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands up 3-4 basis points .

The yield on Germany's benchmark 10-year Bund rose to as much as -0.208%, a six-month high, up from -0.30% earlier in the week.

Policy rates are still negative at the European Central Bank and the Japanese, Danish, Swiss and Hungarian central banks. With the exception of Hungary, all are expected to remain so for some time.

"The Riksbank is moving away from negative rates, and in the markets' mind this is something that the ECB could try at some point," said Peter McCallum, rates strategist at Mizuho.

Oil prices hovered near the highest in three months in thin pre-Christmas trading, buoyed by the previous day's news that U.S. crude inventories declined and as U.S.-China trade tensions continued to ease.

Brent crude futures rose 37 cents to settle at $66.54 a barrel, heading for the sixth straight day of gains. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled up 29 cents at $61.22 a barrel.

The dollar index fell 0.01%, with the euro up 0.1% to $1.1122. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.23% versus the greenback at 109.29 per dollar.

The Swedish crown rose 0.09% versus the greenback at 9.41 per dollar.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 1.9082%.

U.S. gold futures settled 0.4% higher to $1,484.40 an ounce.

Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe in London, editing by Chris Reese and Chizu Nomiyama

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