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GLOBAL MARKETS-Global stocks rise ahead of Fed meeting

(New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments; new byline, changes dateline, previous LONDON)

* Graphic: Global asset performance tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn

* Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s S&P 500 index scaled a new high on Tuesday and a gauge of global equities rose to within 1% of an all-time peak as investors bet the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks meeting this week will retain policies supporting a post-pandemic recovery.

The U.S. dollar edged up against the euro and commodity currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars. U.S. Treasury yields fell as the two-day Fed meeting kept trading in check and investors awaited the latest government debt auction.. .

Oil prices fell for a third day as Germany, France and other European countries suspended use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, threatening economic growth and fuel demand.

The Nasdaq rose to a two-week high on a rebound in technology-related stocks at the heart of February’s sell-off. MSCI’s all-country world index, heavily weighted to big U.S. tech firms, also rose.

After the pandemic, demand will increase further for technology stocks that fueled the rally to record highs during the pandemic, said Johan Grahn, head of ETF strategy at AllianzIM in Minneapolis.

“As long as technology is solving real problems for people, there will continue to be a market for these types of companies,” Grahn said. “There will be more demand for technology solutions across the board,” he said.

MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets rose 0.2% to 678.36, while Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index added 0.79% to 1,642.57.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.47%, the S&P 500 lost 0.09% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.39%.

Euro zone government bonds held ground as caution set in before the conclusion on Wednesday of the Fed’s two-day meeting while uncertainty around vaccinations in the bloc supported safe-haven assets.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury note traded flat to yield 1.6074%. Yields on the benchmark last week hit 1.642% on expectations of rising inflation.

Fed policymakers are expected to forecast the U.S. economy will grow in 2021 by the fastest rate in decades as it recovers from the pandemic.

The Bank of England also meets on Thursday and the Bank of Japan wraps up a two-day meeting on Friday.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s order to make vaccinations available to all adults by May 1 contrasted with stuttering rollouts in Germany, France and elsewhere, where the AstraZeneca vaccine has been suspended due to worries about possible side effects.

In currencies, the dollar held small gains from overnight, with caution evident ahead of the central bank meetings.

The dollar index rose 0.137%, with the euro down 0.29% to $1.1894.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.10% versus the greenback at 109.02 per dollar.

Bitcoin slid 0.1% to $55,591.15. The cryptocurrency hit $61,781.83 on Saturday.

Brent crude futures fell $0.58 to $68.3 a barrel. U.S. crude futures slid $0.74 to $64.65 a barrel.

Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London and by Kevin Buckland and Kane Wu in Tokyo. Editing by Larry King and Mark Potter

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