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GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. shares gain; dollar rises in May Day trading
May 1, 2015 / 7:09 PM / in 3 years

GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. shares gain; dollar rises in May Day trading

* Dollar rises from nine-week lows

* U.S. shares gain after two sessions of losses

* Many Asian, European markets shut for May Day

* Oil dips after Iraq says crude exports hit record in April (Updates prices to mid-afternoon trading)

By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. shares gained on Friday after two straight sessions of losses on a rebound in healthcare and technology stocks, while the dollar rose from nine-week lows on signs that the U.S. economy may be stabilizing.

A majority of the 10 major U.S. S&P indexes were higher, with the health and tech indexes both snapping 2-day losing streaks. Apple shares were higher and were the biggest driver on the Nasdaq and S&P 500. [ID: nL4N0XS3WR]

All major European markets except London, its biggest, were closed on Friday for the May Day holiday, while many Asian markets were also shut. London’s FTSE 100 index inched higher on a surge in the shares of Lloyds bank and mining companies.

The gains in U.S. shares came after weak earnings reports had contributed to losses in the previous two sessions. The rise also came despite data showing that construction spending fell in March to a six-month low, while ISM data showed manufacturing growth held at its slowest in almost two years in April.

A jump in consumer sentiment in April, however, and stronger-than-expected vehicle sales for the month suggested the economy was finding some footing and supported the dollar. [ID: nL1N0XS0V8]

“It’s just a little bit of a dead cat bounce from yesterday, and to a certain degree the ISM data wasn’t terrible,” said Josh Strauss, portfolio manager at Appleseed Fund in Chicago. “You’re not seeing negative impact from abroad because today is May Day.”

The MSCI world equity index was last up 1.31 points or 0.3 percent, at 437.61.

The Dow Jones industrial average was last up 182.88 points, or 1.03 percent, at 18,023.4. The S&P 500 was up 21.67 points, or 1.04 percent, at 2,107.18. The Nasdaq Composite was last up 59.14 points, or 1.2 percent, to 5,000.57.

The FTSE 100 index of top British shares closed up 0.36 percent at 6,985.95 points.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, rose after posting its worst month in four years in April. The index was last up 0.77 percent at 95.325 after hitting a nine-week low of 94.399 on Thursday.

The euro was last down 0.3 percent against the dollar at $1.11885 after hitting a more than nine-week high against the dollar of $1.12900 earlier on Friday.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields hit a seven-week high of 2.124 percent. Treasuries prices, which move inversely to yields, resumed their sell-off as traders readjusted to higher yields globally.

Oil prices eased off 2015 highs after Iraq said its crude exports hit a record in April, keeping Middle East production well above demand.

Brent crude settled down 32 cents at $66.46 a barrel. U.S. crude settled down 48 cents at $59.15 a barrel.

“If markets don’t tighten as quickly as people are expecting, the sell-off can be large,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects.

Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Patrick Graham in London and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru, Herbert Lash, Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Richard Leong in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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