February 23, 2018 / 8:05 PM / a month ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks climb, gold set for weekly loss, as rate hike worries ease

* Shares in U.S., Europe, Asia all higher

* U.S. dollar ticks up, denting euro

* Gold heading for biggest weekly drop since December (Adds settled oil prices; updates throughout)

By Hilary Russ

NEW YORK, Feb 23 (Reuters) - World shares rose broadly on Friday, with technology stocks lifting Wall Street, while gold neared its biggest weekly loss this year as investors shrugged off concerns about interest rate hikes and the U.S. dollar rose.

Stocks climbed across Asia and Europe, while soaring shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc helped the U.S. technology sector surge.

The dollar edged higher against a basket of major currencies as investors positioned for a more aggressive U.S. Federal Reserve. The gains in the dollar pressured the euro, putting it on track for its second biggest weekly loss in nearly four months. The dollar index rose 0.2 percent, with the euro down 0.33 percent to $1.2288.

Broader concerns have lingered globally over the last few weeks, including how far and fast U.S. interest rates may rise and what would that mean for global borrowing costs, risk appetite and business confidence.

Those factors helped keep yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes near four-year highs this week, although yields started falling on Thursday and continued to slump.

The 10-year note last rose 15/32 in price to yield 2.8641 percent, from 2.917 percent late on Thursday.

“We think the (Federal Reserve) could well put U.S. rates up four times this year, but even then it only takes U.S. rates to 2.5 (percent) by the end of the year,” said JPMorgan Asset Management global strategist Mike Bell. “So the question is, Would they continue at that pace in 2019?”

The spotlight will be on new Fed chair Jerome Powell next week when he faces questions from both houses of the U.S. Congress in semi-annual testimony starting on Tuesday.

His audience will include investors who unceremoniously greeted his early tenure with one of the fastest 10.0 percent falls in Wall Street stocks in history earlier this month.

The pullback in Treasury yields as the Fed eased concerns about the path of interest rate hikes this year drove Wall Street stocks higher.

Tech shares climbed 1.69 percent, led by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which rose 10.2 percent, and HP, up 3.2 percent. The two companies, created from the split of Hewlett Packard Co in 2015, reported strong results and HPE announced a plan to return $7 billion to shareholders.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 159 points, or 0.64 percent, to 25,121.48, the S&P 500 gained 25.03 points, or 0.93 percent, to 2,728.99, and the Nasdaq Composite added 78.88 points, or 1.09 percent, to 7,288.96.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.77 percent, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rising 0.23 percent and emerging market stocks up 1.28 percent.

In Asian trading, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.28 percent higher, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.72 percent..

Gold’s spot market price dropped 0.2 percent to $1,329.11 an ounce. It has so far shed about 1.4 percent this week, its biggest weekly decline since early December.

“We remain somewhat cautious on gold over the short term given that we think the dollar rally is still not over, especially in the light of U.S. Treasury yields remaining elevated,” said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

Oil edged further upwards, supported by a dip in Libyan production and upbeat comments from Saudi Arabia that an OPEC-led effort to curb output is working.

U.S. crude oil futures settled at $63.55 per barrel, up 78 cents, or 1.24 percent. Brent was last at $67.35, up 1.45 percent on the day.

Additional reporting by Marc Jones and Jan Harvey in London, Trevor Hunnicutt and Karen Brettell in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler

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