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World stocks hit fresh two-month high, dollar firms

A woman points to an electronic board showing stock prices as she poses in front of the board after the New Year opening ceremony at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), held to wish for the success of Japan's stock market, in Tokyo, Japan, January 4, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks hit a two-month high on Monday, as gains for technology and industrial shares fueled a rise on Wall Street, while the U.S. dollar gained for a third straight session against a basket of currencies and U.S. Treasury yields rose.

Oil prices pulled back after reaching their highest levels in roughly two months.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.33 percent, reaching a fresh two-month high.

Investors were parsing the significance for financial markets from Friday's strong U.S. jobs report, which came on the heels of the Federal Reserve saying it would be patient on future rate hikes amid a cloudy outlook for the U.S. economy.

“Investors are realizing that the Fed is at least going to be friendly here in the near term," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

"Some of these things that were weighing as negatives... namely a tighter Fed, lack of progress on the tariffs, those things are starting to improve or have improved, and as a result there are more reasons to be investing in stocks," Hellwig said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 175.48 points, or 0.7 percent, to 25,239.37, the S&P 500 gained 18.34 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,724.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added 83.67 points, or 1.15 percent, to 7,347.54.

Technology and industrials were the biggest risers among the S&P 500 sectors, as investors braced for another big week of fourth-quarter corporate earnings reports.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.06 percent as the heavyweight banking sector fell following poor results from Julius Baer.

The U.S. dollar strengthened across the board, as investors took heart from Friday's strong payrolls number.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies. rose 0.27 percent, with the euro down 0.18 percent to $1.1433.

Improved risk appetite helped lift the dollar to a five-week high against the safe-haven yen.

U.S. Treasury prices fell in generally thin volume, pressured by upcoming debt supply, as well as indications that inflation expectations are rising.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 10/32 in price to yield 2.7253 percent, from 2.691 percent late on Friday.

Oil prices fell after disappointing U.S. factory data sparked fresh concerns about a slowdown in the global economy. But losses were limited as OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela brightened the supply outlook.

U.S. crude settled down 1.3 percent at $54.56 per barrel and Brent settled down 0.4 percent at $62.51.


(Editing by Dan Grebler and Alistair Bell)