NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock markets worldwide rose on Friday on stronger-than-expected economic growth in Germany and optimism that Greece would reach a deal with its creditors, while oil prices gained on signs that excess supply may ebb.
Germany reported growth of 0.7 percent for the fourth quarter, more than double economists' expected 0.3 percent rate, pointing to a stronger 2015 for the euro zone's biggest economy.
The growth in Germany boosted the overall euro zone economy, which accelerated by 0.3 percent. Top European shares hit a seven-year high, while Germany's DAX .GDAXI index hit a record high. U.S. shares rose, with the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX index posting a record closing high. [ID:nL1N0VN269]
Greek equities .ATG rallied nearly 6 percent as shares of Greek banks surged on signs the country could reach a deal with creditors.
"Everyone has been so negative about Europe for so long, so good news is unusual," Katrina Dudley, portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Investments in Short Hills, New Jersey, said, noting the impact of the German data.
A Greek government spokesman said the country will make every effort to reach a deal at Monday's meeting of euro zone finance ministers on how to transition to a new support program. Optimism regarding Ukraine also supported stocks in the wake of a ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and Russia.
"The risk is being taken off the table," Dudley said.
Oil rose above $60 a barrel for the first time this year, supported by signs that deeper industry spending cuts may curb excess supply. Brent crude LCOc1 settled up $2.24 at $61.52 per barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 settled up $1.57 at $52.78 per barrel. The rise in oil boosted U.S. energy shares.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 46.97 points, or 0.26 percent, at 18,019.35. The S&P 500 .SPX closed up 8.51 points, or 0.41 percent, at 2,096.99. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC closed up 36.22 points, or 0.75 percent, at 4,893.84.
Wall Street took in stride data showing the biggest drop in U.S. import prices in six years and weaker-than-expected U.S. consumer sentiment.
In Europe, the FTSEuroFirst index of 300 leading shares .FTEU3 closed up 0.64 percent, at 1,502.82. MSCI's all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS was last up 2.93 points, or 0.69 percent, to 427.62.
The dollar was up slightly against the euro, but the euro still notched a third straight week of gains against the dollar. The euro was last down 0.14 percent against the greenback at $1.13865.[ID:nL1N0VN1ZF]
The strong data out of Germany and optimism that Greece could reach a debt deal dented the appetite for safe-haven assets and helped push U.S. Treasury yields higher. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR were last at 2.04 percent, from 1.99 percent late Thursday.
"The trend for the market is for it to be modestly higher-yield," said Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at OppenheimerFunds in New York. "All the things that were taking yields lower ... are slowly getting priced out of the market."
U.S. gold for April delivery GCcv1 edged up $6.40 to settle at $1,227.10 an ounce.
Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Lionel Laurent in London and Chuck Mikolajczak and Barani Krishnan in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Chizu Nomiyama