* Dow and S&P finish at closing highs
* Crude oil up on rising Ukraine tensions
* Euro under pressure after ECB comments
* U.S. debt prices fall before heavy week of data
(Adds close of U.S. markets)
By Herbert Lash
Monday, with the Dow industrials and S&P 500 hitting record
closing highs, as Wall Street advanced in a broad rally spurred
by strong corporate results and an improving economic outlook.
Prices of U.S. Treasury debt fell, while European shares
scaled six-year highs, underpinned by fresh takeover activity
and renewed speculation about monetary stimulus from the
European Central Bank.
On Wall Street, eight of the 10 primary S&P 500 sectors rose
as advancing stocks topped declining shares by almost 4 to 1 on
both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq market.
The Dow set both an all-time peak and record close, while
the S&P came within 16 basis points of an all-time high before
slightly pulling back from its high of the day.
Weak economic data during the harsh winter and surprising
strength in the bond market had kept money in fixed income, said
David Kelly, chief global strategist for JPMorgan Funds in New
York. But an improving economic outlook has drawn investors back
"I hate to make day-to-day rationalizations of the behavior
of the market, but the key point is, falling unemployment and
rising economic growth ultimately mean that both interest rates
and stocks prices are likely to move higher," Kelly said.
optimism about a recovery in Italy, whose shares have
outperformed Germany and France over the past year.
percent, and the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300's index
of leading shares rose 0.67 percent to close at 1,364.48.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 112.13 points,
or 0.68 percent, to 16,695.47. The S&P 500 gained 18.17
points, or 0.97 percent, to 1,896.65, and the Nasdaq Composite
added 71.99 points, or 1.77 percent, to 4,143.859.
Equity markets shrugged off a weekend referendum in Ukraine,
where pro-Moscow rebel organizers said nearly 90 percent had
voted in favor of self-rule, possibly adding fuel to a conflict
spinning increasingly out of control.
U.S. Treasuries yields rose before a heavy week of data that
includes retail sales and consumer price reports, which will be
watched for signs of economic strength, as well as whether
inflation is rising from levels below the Federal Reserve's
Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 8/32 in
price to push their yield up to 2.6539 percent.
The euro traded near break-even against the dollar and yen,
ignoring the weekend referendum in Ukraine.
Against sterling, however, the euro fell to a 16-month low
on growing bets the European Central Bank will ease monetary
policy just as the Bank of England prepares to raise rates.
The euro's gains were trimmed after dovish comments from
Austria's central banker, Ewald Nowotny. He told reporters it
would take more than a cut in interest rates to combat low
inflation in the euro zone.
The euro rose 0.01 percent against the greenback at $1.3758
. The dollar rose 0.27 percent against the yen at
Crude oil futures rose as investors braced for a possible
supply disruption after the Ukraine referendum prompted the
European Union to widen sanctions to Russian individuals and
more crude in the event of a shortage.
Brent crude settled up 52 cents at $108.41 a barrel.
U.S. crude gained 60 cents to settle at $100.59 a
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Marc Jones
in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)