(Corrects headline to say oil was up, paragraph 17 to say Brent crude was higher)
By Dion Rabouin
NEW YORK A measure of global equity markets on Wednesday rose to the highest in nearly two months, pushed upward by positive U.S. economic data that was complemented by stimulus measures in China and expected easing in Europe.
European and Asian stocks rose as renewed risk appetite returned to global markets.
"We've seen some signs of strength in the economy," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
"We had an employment report this morning that suggests we're continuing to see some good job growth ... that should provide some support, particularly in financials, because it puts us back on track" for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.
U.S. private sector employers added 214,000 jobs in February, beating economists' expectations and adding to strong manufacturing and construction spending data released earlier this week.
MSCI's broadest gauge of the world's stock markets .MIWD00000PUS rose to its highest since Jan. 7.
U.S. stocks were flat as oil prices were little changed in choppy trading, and the S&P 500 edged up after reaching an eight-week high on Monday.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 8.21 points, or 0.05 percent, to 16,873.29, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,982.35 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 1.86 points, or 0.04 percent, to 4,691.45.
Crude oil futures CLc1 were slightly higher in afternoon trading in New York, kept in a narrow range by a record high build-up in U.S. stockpiles but positive investor sentiment.
"The market, after a breakthrough, has to get its footing and it looks like that's what we're trying to accomplish," said Warren West, principal at Greentree Brokerage Services in Philadelphia.
European markets closed up for a fifth straight day, backed by the prospect of further monetary easing by the European Central Bank. That five-day growth spurt marked their longest winning streak in five months.
The FTSEuroFirst index rose 0.7 percent .FTEU3 to a one-month high of 1341.88.
Investors also continued to take heart from additional stimulus measures from China, which earlier this week cut its bank reserve requirements.
Asian stocks rose overnight to a two-month high with Japan's and China's main indexes both up more than 4 percent. [.T][.SS]
CRUDE LOSES STEAM
U.S. crude CLc1 fell below $35 a barrel after earlier hitting a two-month high. Government data showed inventories rose by 10.4 million barrels to 518 million in the week to Feb. 26, almost triple the 3.6 million-barrel increase expected by analysts.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 0.4 percent at $36.95 a barrel.
U.S. Treasury yields rose as the job market data reinforced the view that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this year.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR were down 2/32 in price to yield 1.8406 percent, having earlier touched 1.87 percent, the highest since Feb. 5.
The dollar was down 0.5 percent against the yen JPY=, at 113.85 yen, after gaining more than 1 percent on Tuesday. [FRX/]
Gold XAU= rose 0.7 percent to $1,241.10 an ounce as the dollar turned lower and a retreat in U.S. stocks and oil prices generated renewed demand for the metal. [GOL/]
(Reporting by Dion Rabouin; additional reporting by Tariro Mzezewa in New York, Jamie McGeever in London; Editing by Larry King and Nick Zieminski)
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