GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall St joins Ukraine relief rally; oil hits 14-month low

by Reuters
Monday, 18 August 2014 17:42 GMT

* Wall Street indexes up nearly 1 percent

* Oil falls as Ukraine tensions ease, supply improves

* Dollar rises; Gold dips under $1,300 (Updates prices, quotes)

By Michael Connor

NEW YORK, Aug 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock prices jumped on Monday, following the path of equities in Europe, as investors breathed easier over the crisis in Ukraine and knocked oil prices to lows not seen in more than a year.

U.S. bond prices dropped and the dollar rose after dipping on Friday, when the government in Kiev said its artillery had hit a Russian armored column. Russia denied its forces had crossed into Ukraine.

On Wall Street, an $8.95 billion bid by discount retailer Dollar General Corp for Family Dollar Inc that trumped a bid by Dollar Tree Inc also helped prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 175.7 points, or 1.05 percent, to 16,838.61, the S&P 500 gained 16.79 points, or 0.86 percent, to 1,971.85, and the Nasdaq Composite added 42.20 points, or 0.95 percent, to 4,507.13.

"People left Friday unsure of whether or not the Ukrainian conflict was escalating and they seem to have come back today thinking it's not," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1.2 percent. German blue chips, which are considered especially vulnerable to tensions between the West and Russia, were among the top gainers.

Oil fell below $102 a barrel as investor concerns over both the conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq eased and as higher Libyan oil output added to already ample supplies.

Brent crude was off $2.16 to $101.37 a barrel by 11:46 a.m. (1546 GMT) after falling as low as $101.11, the lowest level since June 2013. U.S. crude for September fell $1.28 to $96.07, after touching a low of $95.81.

U.S. Treasury debt prices fell after three days of gains last week. Risk appetite grew on upbeat U.S. housing data and the easing tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index, which measures homebuilder sentiment, rose for a third straight month in August.

U.S. 10-year note prices fell 12/32 to yield 2.387 percent, from 2.339 percent late on Friday. U.S. 30-year bond prices also slid, dropping 1-3/32 to yield 3.191 percent, from 3.129 percent the previous session

Yields on German 10-year debt, the euro zone benchmark, rose 2.6 basis points to a shade above 1.001 percent.

As equities rose, gold slipped below $1,300 an ounce and was last trading at $1,298.

In currency markets, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, was up 0.18 percent.

"The market was a little bit concerned that things could flare up in the Ukraine region over the weekend, and the fact that they haven't has made the market relax a little bit," said Douglas Borthwick, managing director at Chapdelaine Foreign Exchange in New York. (Reporting by Michael Connor in New York; Additional Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak, Sam Forgione and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York, and Nigel Stephenson in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)

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