February 23, 2018 / 5:15 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

* Russia waits on S&P investment grade rating decision (Adds Wall Street open; changes dateline to New York; updates throughout)

By Hilary Russ

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

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

MSCI’s key index of stock markets across the globe gained 0.61 percent, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rising 0.19 percent and emerging market stocks up 1.12 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 164.91 points, or 0.66 percent, to 25,127.39, the S&P 500 gained 20.65 points, or 0.76 percent, to 2,724.61 and the Nasdaq Composite added 54.12 points, or 0.75 percent, to 7,264.20.

Modest gains for the U.S. dollar meant the euro was set to post its second biggest weekly loss in nearly four months . The dollar index rose 0.22 percent, with the euro down 0.36 percent to $1.2284.

Caution over the Italian election also gave the country’s bonds a tough week.

Polls point to a hung parliament in Italy, where no single party or coalition has an outright majority to form a government, and analysts expect short-term volatility that could weigh on traditionally sensitive euro zone markets.

“Some long-forgotten patterns return to euro bond markets with Bunds rallying while Italy sells off,” said Commerzbank rates strategist Christoph Rieger.


Broader concerns have lingered globally over the last choppy 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 dropped slightly on Friday.

The 10-year notes last rose 11/32 in price to yield 2.8787 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 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?”

In Asian trading, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.21 percent higher, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.72 percent.

Gold’s spot market price dropped 0.3 percent to $1,327.92 an ounce. It has so far shed about 1.5 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 rose 1.21 percent to $63.53 per barrel and Brent was last at $67.07, up 1.02 percent on the day.

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

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