Shares near all-time high; bond yields slip to 11-month lows

Thu May 29, 2014 11:22am EDT
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By Francesco Canepa

New York (Reuters) - Global equity markets hovered just off all-time highs on Thursday as investors brushed off a weaker-than-expected reading on the U.S. economy, while benchmark U.S. Treasury yields fell to 11-month lows.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 hit another intraday high early in the session despite first-quarter GDP data showing the U.S. economy contracted 1 percent. Better-than-expected jobless claims pointing to a strengthening labor market and merger and acquisition activity also boosted sentiment.

The dollar trimmed early losses against major currencies as traders focused on signs of the U.S. economy strengthening.

"Once you get beyond the headline number and look under the hood, things don't really look so bad," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York. "Inventories were to blame for a lot of it and that bodes well for the future."

The dollar, which had given back many of its gains on , reclaimed some of Wednesday's losses against the euro and the British pound after the GDP report.

The MSCI World Index, which has gained 1.4 percent since the last ECB policy meeting, was up 0.9 percent.

Wall Street's Dow Jones industrial average was up 9.77 points, or 0.06 percent, at 16,642.95. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was up 3.39 points, or 0.18 percent, at 1,913.17. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 11.92 points, or 0.28 percent, at 4,236.99.

European shares held near multi-year highs, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index close to a near six-year peak reached earlier this week.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange May 23, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid